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Schools set up to alert parents to class closures

Snow days are a kid's best friend but potentially a strategic nightmare for school districts and parents if not for some simple tools.

The Sunnyside, Mabton and Grandview school districts all use local TV and radio media outlets as a central way to get the word out to parents and the community about school closures or delays.

Mabton is in the process of installing a new telephone system that will include a phone tree for contacting families about delays and closures.

The Grandview School District also utilizes a phone tree in addition to TV and radio notification. Superintendent Kevin Chase typically makes the decision by 6 a.m. as to whether there's enough snow to merit a school closure or a delay in classes.

In addition, Grandview's website, www.grandview.wednet.edu features a section on inclement weather.

Besides alerting TV and radio media, the Sunnyside School District also has a snow info hot line at 836-8404 that parents can call to see if there are closures or delays.

Curtis Campbell is the district's community relations coordinator and he noted Sunnyside schools also take something of a high tech approach to delay/closure notification, as the district uses www.nixle.com.

Parents can go to Nixle, enter Sunnyside, Washington and look at alerts and notices posted by the school district and the city of Sunnyside police department.

Better yet, families can register on Nixle and receive closure/delay text alerts delivered direct to their cell phone and e-mail.

Nixle is a free communication service that the Sunnyside School District, as well as the Sunnyside Police Department, uses to deliver instant information to registered users in the Sunnyside area.

Campbell said school delays and closures are also updated on the school district's website at www.sunnyside.wednet.edu.

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