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Message to Ritenour Families from Dr. Chris Kilbride

Dear Ritenour Families,

We regret and sincerely apologize that today’s cancellation of school came very late. We know many staff and students already were en route to school or had already arrived. We recognize that this caused significant inconvenience for our staff and families, and we are truly sorry. 

Safety has always been and always will be our priority. Although our maintenance crews worked to treat our campuses, we did not expect additional accumulation of snow to impact parking areas and walkways.  In addition, we discovered that the treatments did not melt the underlying ice that accumulated below the snow.

Many staff reported they could not get to work today due to hazardous road conditions near their homes. We were caught off guard by the severity of the conditions as compared to the forecast, to the point that superintendents in our region did not convene to discuss closures like we routinely do when bad weather is predicted.  We will learn from this incident and work to be better in the interest of staff, students and families.

In December, we had announced that we would be using our Alternate Method of Instruction (AMI) for short-term closures due to poor weather or other conditions that would allow us to close campus and move to a full virtual learning format for all students and staff. Last week, Marvin Elementary used AMI for two days when the heat malfunctioned. 

When we first announced the option of AMI that the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education allows, our hope was that we could give staff and families 24 hours notice when we need to move to AMI. It is clear, based on last week’s situation at Marvin and today’s quickly changing weather hazards, that 24 hours advanced notice will not be possible in all situations. With that said, I want all staff and families to be prepared for the possibility of AMI (full remote learning) for tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 10, and Thursday, Feb. 11, based on the potential for a quickly-changing forecast.  This is not a certainty, but we must be prepared for it.   

As we have done in the past, we will announce closure decisions via text messages, phone calls, email, local media and social media. If you did not receive a message from our rapid notification system, please contact your school.

We will do our best to notify staff and families in advance about school closings and AMI - ideally the night before the closure. Again, we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience our late decision caused and ask for your forgiveness. We commit to doing better in the future.

Sincerely,

Dr. Chris Kilbride, Superintendent