Holy Family Catholic Schools change cancellation policy

Laura Cushman, ’24, looks over a snow-covered field

As temperatures dip down, students look forward to possible cancellations. But for some students, particularly the students of Holy Family Catholic Schools, some of these cancellations have become a thing of the past with the new inclement weather cancellation policy.

The Holy Family school board decided in early February that they would part ways with the Dubuque Community School District when it comes to inclement weather cancellations. Instead of canceling school when public schools cancel for extreme cold weather, Holy Family has elected to remain open, leaving virtual schooling an option for those who cannot travel to school due to the conditions.

“We believe it’s safe for our teachers to come into school,” said Holy Family’s chief administrator Phil Bormann. “We don’t have busing, and that’s largely the reason why people cancel– because the busses don’t get out. Fortunately, we have a community that’s supportive; they said that they’re willing to find alternative transportation. Having the virtual option accommodates situations where people don’t feel comfortable or perhaps do not have reliable vehicles. The virtual option was a really nice way of giving us permission to move forward with the decision not to close.”

The purpose of this new policy is to take away the need to extend the school year any more than it already has been due to previous cancellations. This way, students will have more time to relax and enjoy their summer break. 

Sullivan Newlin, ’24, enjoys the cold weather while skiing in Colorado

While the longer summer is appealing, sometimes students just want a day to take a break from schoolwork.

“In the long run, I think it’ll be a good idea because we will not get a bunch of days added on,” said Sullivan Newlin, ‘24. “Still it’s kind

 of disappointing to not get a cancellation every so often.”

This policy works well this year because there is an option to go to school from the comfort of your own home. But with COVID-19 vaccines rolling out, it seems as though the lifetime of virtual schooling is coming to a close. So this begs the question: Will this policy stay in place after everything moves back to in-person?

“We’ll have more conversations about that– not just with the administration, but also with the teachers and the school board,” said Bormann. “We wouldn’t have that virtual option, but our attendance is strong enough that I think we might still justify parting ways with Dubuque Community’s busing on those days and having in-person learning. It was a great success, especially at the preschool-through-grade 5 levels where it’s harder for kids to be at home. I think we helped out a lot of families and continued the learning.”