'Tis the season...To Prepare in Advance for Emergency School Delays, Closings, and Early Dismissals

When the amount of daylight grows shorter and temperatures grow colder, winter weather and potentially hazardous travel conditions aren’t far behind.  We are fully aware of the inconvenience experienced by individuals and families when the normal school schedule is disrupted unexpectedly by inclement weather or other emergency conditions (i.e. power outages, water main breaks, etc.). However, there are times when Rhinebeck school officials must make difficult decisions to cancel or delay school or close early in light of a potential risk regarding the safety of our students and/or staff due to such emergency conditions. 



We make every effort to anticipate and assess emergency conditions as best we can and make judgments according to the best information we have available to us at the time a decision needs to be made.  Remember that we need to make emergency decisions for a sizable and geographically diverse area that spans 6 different towns and a village. Keep in mind that a difference in elevation above sea level, or the proximity to a body of water such as the Hudson River, can lead to varying meteorological conditions between one corner of our school district and another.



To prepare yourselves and your families for the impact of winter weather and travel on school schedules, please give advance consideration to your family plans in the event of unanticipated school closings, delays, or early dismissals due to emergency conditions. There are a multitude of ways to access information about these situations.


The first notice of school closings or delays will be made through the District’s Twitter account. Twitter is easily accessed on a home computer, and is especially useful for retrieving school information “on the go” from a smartphone or other internet-enabled device. If you want to receive the most immediate information on school closings and delays, log on to https://twitter.com/?lang=enand set up a free Twitter account. Then follow the Rhinebeck Central School District (@Rhinebeckcsd) on your Twitter account.


You also can access information on school closings, delays, and early dismissals by checking the various radio and television media in our area that are listed in the school calendar, in the various student handbooks, and on our website.  You can check the school district’s web site (www.rhinebeckcsd.org) directly as well, which is updated regularly during weather emergencies and other situations, or log on to www.cancellations.com. In addition, you are able to call the phone number at your child’s school and press the appropriate auto-attendant number for school closing/delay/early dismissal information.


Please be aware, however, that under certain conditions, it may be difficult or impossible for us to provide closing or delay information to you through our web site, through our telephone system, or through the internet, or for you to access that information, especially if electricity and/or telephone service has been compromised by emergency conditions.  Under those circumstances, we recommend that you have a battery-powered radio with fresh batteries available so you can access this information through that means if all other information sources are inaccessible.  



So you are aware and can make plans in advance, the current options for school closings and/or delays are as follows:


 Ø  School Closing – When emergency conditions require us to close school for the day, we try to make the decision as reasonably early as possible (preferably around 5:00 – 5:30 am), at which point we begin communicating information through the various outlets denoted above.  Given the time it takes to modify our two-trip transportation schedule, we try to make a decision as early as possible, based upon a judgment of existing road and weather conditions and interpretation of forecasts. 




It is sometimes necessary to start with a call for a 2-hour delay, as noted below, in anticipation of improving conditions, only to find that conditions have not improved and that school must be closed after all.  It is suggested that parents check back with their reliable communication sources in the event of a delay to ensure that is has not been extended to a longer delay or a school closing for the day. 




Normally, when school is closed for the day, all after school and evening activities are cancelled as well.  Any exceptions to this will be specifically communicated through the normal information sources.




Ø  2-Hour Delay – When we judge that emergency conditions will have improved in time to hold classes on a given day, albeit with a later start time than normal, we will likely decide on a 2- hour delay of school.  Under a 2-hour delay, buses are expected to run on a schedule two hours later than normal, and school will start exactly 2 hours later than normal, as follows:




BMS/RHS       9:16 AM   Teachers on duty in rooms or other assigned stations.


9:27 AM   Warning bell.


9:30 AM   Period One begins.





            PERIOD 1                     9:30-9:58


            PERIOD 2                     10:02-10:30


            PERIOD 3                     10:34-11:01


            PERIOD 4                     11:05-11:37


            PERIOD 5                     11:41-12:08 (Lunch)


            PERIOD 6                     12:12-12:40 (Lunch)


            PERIOD 7                     12:44-1:12 (Lunch)


            PERIOD 8                     1:16-1:44  (Lunch)



            PERIOD 9                     1:48-2:16


            DISMISSAL                   2:16




CLS – The 2-Hour Delay day at CLS works as follows: Staff members report by 10:30 AM; Students may enter the building at 10:45 AM; Student program starts at 10:55 AM; Lunch/Recess Schedules are not affected (all students receive lunch and recess at their normal time).




Ø  3-Hour Delay - When we judge that emergency conditions will have improved in time to hold classes on a given day with anadditional hour beyond a 2-hour delay, we may decide to exercise the option of a 3-hour school delay.  We do not anticipate a 3-hour delay becoming the default decision when clearing emergency conditions may warrant.  However, we may exercise that option when conditions suggest that it is prudent to do so. Under a 3-hour delay, buses are expected to run on a schedule three hours later than normal, and school will start exactly 3 hours later than normal, as follows:




BMS/RHS – (22 minute periods; 3 minute passing times)




PERIOD 1         10:30—10:52


PERIOD 2         10:55—11:17


PERIOD 3         11:20—11:42


PERIOD 4         11:45—12:07


PERIOD 5         12:10—12:32 (Lunch)


PERIOD 6         12:35—12:57 (Lunch)


PERIOD 7         1:00—1:22 (Lunch)


PERIOD 8         1:25—1:47 (Lunch)


PERIOD 9         1:50—2:16 Lunch)


DISMISSAL       2:16




CLS – The 3-Hour Delay day at CLS works as follows: Staff members report by 11:30 AM; Students may enter the building at 11:45 AM; Student program starts at 11:55 AM; Given the late start to the day, lunch will not be served. Students should eat before they leave for school. Snack time will be provided in the classrooms.



Early Dismissals and/or Cancellation of After-School and/or Evening Activities- If school officials make the decision to dismiss school early, before the normal dismissal times, or to close school at the regular time but cancel afternoon and/or evening activities, announcements will be made through the same sources of information that are used for school closings and delays, as outlined above.

Please feel free to contact your child’s building principal if you have any questions.


845.871.5520 - District
845.871.5520 ext. 5527 - Transportation
845.871.5570 ext. 6560 - Registration
845.871.5570 ext. 6551 - Special Education
845.871.5570 ext. 6560 - Curriculum & Instruction


Mailing: P.O. Box 351, Rhinebeck, NY 12572
Physical: 45 N. Park Rd., Rhinebeck, NY 12572


845.871.5570 - Chancellor Livingston Elementary
845.871.5500 - Bulkeley Middle School
845.871.5500 - Rhinebeck High School