In spite of being downgraded from a tropical storm to a tropical depression before making landfall, Imelda still severely damaged southeast Texas. With 5 dead, 1,000 water rescues, 365 stranded vehicles, shut down highways, flooded homes, and the majority of districts in southeast Texas closed, it’s clear that Imelda caught people off guard.

A man tries to direct a school bus on a flooded road on September 19, 2019, in Houston, Texas. Thomas B. Shea/Getty Image

And for the third year in a row, our district has been forced into deciding whether or not to close school due to heavy rain events. Despite some teachers not being able to make it to school and parents struggling to get to work in downtown Houston, Klein ISD kept schools open throughout Friday. 

But for anyone wondering, either as a parent or as a student, into what goes into canceling school they should know at least one thing. That is, if the majority of the district can function properly, the district will be open. So if anyone’s predicting whether or not school will be canceled next time a heavy rain event occurs, they should consider this before making any assumptions.

“Under most circumstances, a decision to close school due to bad weather is made by 5:30 a.m. If enough information is available, school district officials may make a decision the night before and families will be notified before 10 p.m,” the district said.

For those who want to stay up after 10 p.m. in hopes of the district canceling school and your snooze button, don’t. Instead, just follow your normal sleep routine and keep www.kleinisd.net handy or their twitter account @KleinISD. If school is canceled when you wake up, that will be your most reliable source.

“When bad weather is predicted, the district has personnel designated to drive sectors of the district during the early morning hours to determine if the major roads are passable,” the district said.

Two pedestrians walk across the street during Tropical Storm Imelda.
Photo courtesy of CNN.

Passable, meaning that a Fiat 500 can drive soundly through the water and not drown. Not an F-150 nor the Presidential state car (“The Beast”) if that makes you feel any better.

“The superintendent also coordinates with other neighboring districts regarding the decision to close schools due to inclement weather,” the district said. “Factors for consideration in closing schools include flooding throughout the district, major roads impassable due to high water, patches of ice on major roadways and bridges across the district, and weather predictions for later in the day.”

In addition to coordinating with neighboring districts (such as Houston ISD and Conroe ISD), Dr. McGown will also visit with Harris County weather and traffic officials before the designated morning announcement time and ask them about future weather conditions if it gets worse.

A kid rides his bike near Kings Manor Drive as rain from Tropical Depression Imelda inundate the area, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, in Kingwood.

“With 88 square miles of land in the Klein ISD, some areas may experience minor flooding or icy patches for a short period but the majority of the district is not experiencing any flooding or ice on the roads,” the district said.

As previously stated, this is arguably the most important factor in canceling school. Remember, if most of the district can function, schools will remain open.

“If school is closed, the announcement will first be posted on the Klein ISD homepage and this page,” the district said. “Information will also be posted on the Klein ISD Facebook and Twitter accounts. Finally, families will be notified by automated phone calls, texts, app alerts, and email through the SchoolMessenger notification system. It is important that families keep their contact phone number current in Skyward Family Access if they want to receive notifications. The information will be sent to local television and radio stations as well. Because of a large number of school districts in the area, the television and radio announcements are sometimes delayed 30 to 45 minutes.”