Emergency situations occasionally arise which may require school delays, closures, or changes in transportation. These are most frequently related to inclement weather. To alert families to changes made to the regular schedule, we will communicate to you through a range of channels.EMERGENCY INFORMATION DISTRIBUTED THROUGH*:• BISD’s website at www. bisd303.org• Email/phone call/text through our messaging system. Please make sure your information is current in your Family Access / Skyward account. (https://bit.ly/2KDblWT)• Emergency broadcast stations for pertinent information (local radio and television stations)*If the District Office is without power, some forms of these communications may not work.For inclement weather, the goal is to notify you beginning around 5:30 a.m. Radio and television stations will announce school closures by name and district number — listen and look for Bainbridge Island School District #303.Schools will either be closed or delayed with a late start:CLOSED — All BISD public schools are closed for the day. All activities are cancelled. If conditions change during the day, special arrangements may be made for some activities.LATE START — Schools are open but will begin at a later time.EMERGENCY/SNOW ROUTES — Buses will run on limited service/snow routes. See the limited routes listed on our website. (https://bit.ly/2KObXZ3) For information about releasing students during an emergency situation, view our emergency details on our website. (https://www.bisd303.org/Page/52)For information about releasing students during an emergency situation, see the packet of information which includes: the Emergency Student-Release Procedures, Emergency Student-Release Permission, and things to consider when developing your own emergency plan.
No announcements mean schools are operating on their regular schedules.
Behind the scenes of BISD's Communications
When an emergency occurs at our schools, oftentimes the messages that are first circulated come from non-official sources. For example, a student texts a parent about an emergency and then the parent posts the text on Facebook, and then the post is shared by other parents, etc. So why does it take longer for the school district to send out an official message? Here's what is going on at the District Office during an emergency.
1. Gathering facts: When an emergency happens, the school(s) and the district strive to communicate factual information to the public as quickly as possible. But, as no two situations are alike, oftentimes there are details we need to verify. This can involve talking to multiple parties (such as the police or fire department, or families directly involved with the emergency) and this information-gathering phase takes time. Please know we’re working hard to get an accurate account of the situation.
2. Limited on what we can share: Depending on the situation, there are times we are limited on the details we can share. This could be due to privacy laws or due to an active law enforcement investigation. It is not our intention to seem vague when we say “We are unable to share specifics regarding XYZ.” Please know that we strive toward proactive communication while balancing the privacy of others.
3. Getting the message out: Once we have the message ready to send, we activate various communication channels. The most used channels are email and text.We use a system called ParentSquare to push out time-sensitive messages such school closures. We use the system to send messages via email, phone and text. While you do not have to register to receive BISD and school communications, you are encouraged to do so as it allows you to update your preferences on when/how you are notified and if you would like the communications to be sent in a language other than English.
Click here for instructions on how to activate your ParentSquare account.
- Email: This is an efficient way to share information; the system takes about five to ten minutes to send out the email message.
- Text: This is the quickest way to send out messages and takes about five minutes to implement.
- Phone: This is the least efficient mode of communication because it takes time for the system to call the thousands of numbers in our database. It can take up to two hours for people to receive the call.
- Website: We post timely messages on the district’s homepage.
- Social Media: We post timely messages to the district’s Facebook page.
What should you do during an emergency situation?
1. Follow the instructions given in our message. This might include an alternate pick-up location for your student, or a change to the schools’ dismissal times.
2. Help keep the schools’ phone lines open by not calling in and asking for additional information. We will send updates through the above channels.
3. To help cut down on misinformation in the community, share the district’s message with local friends and neighbors who aren’t in the district’s communications database (those who don’t have students enrolled in the district).
Lastly, please make sure your contact information is always up to date in Skyward/Family Access. Your email address and phone number listed in Skyward/Family Access are the ones we use when sending out our messages.
Thank you for doing your part to keep the communication lines open and for sharing accurate and factual messages to those around you.
Updated September 2023