Pond Opens for Skating

Dear Wildcats,

It is with great pleasure that we declare the pond open to skating today, January 25, 2016.  The weather has been perfect and the Grounds Crew has completed measuring the ice and putting the safety gear out.  Attached to this email is the “Pond Winter Use Policy”.  The policy is intended to keep everyone, who chooses to use the ice, safe while doing so.  Please read the policy and understand where the boundaries are for the area that is to be used.  It is imperative that you stay within the designated boundaries.  Anyone outside the boundaries will be subject to disciplinary action.

Have fun and be safe!

Ms. O’Connor

Pond Winter Use Policy


The Williston Northampton School is fortunate enough to have a pond on campus that becomes a hub of outdoor activities, such as skating, in the cold winter months. Realizing that there comes an inherent risk in using the ice due to fluctuating weather and constant changing of ice conditions, the Physical Plant and Security Departments have created the following policy in an effort to make using the pond in cold weather as safe as possible.

  • The School will use the Massachusetts Wildlife Ice Strength and Safety Guidelines as a guide for permissible weight, or load, on ice. Activities on the frozen pond will only be allowed if there is a minimum of five inches of ice, measured in six locations.
  • The weather will determine when the pond can be used for activities.   As soon as it has been cold for several, consecutive days and it is deemed safe for employees to go out on the ice, it will be tested for thickness and safety. Testing of the ice will include drilling in six different locations to test for the thickness.
  • No one shall go out on the ice until an initial test of the ice has been completed and it has been determined to be safe, with five inches of ice present, by the Physical Plant.
  • After the initial testing, and a result that indicates five inches of ice are present, the ice will be tested by members of the Physical Plant as needed. The result of the test will determine if the ice is safe to use. Members of the Physical Plant, and the weather, will determine how often the ice testing will be done.
  • Once the ice is considered safe and ready for use, Williston students, staff, and faculty will receive an email indicating such. After the initial email, additional emails acknowledging the condition of the ice and whether it is safe for activity will be sent out as needed. All email communications shall be internal and shall not be intended for anyone outside of the Williston community.
  • The Physical Plant and Security Departments will not endorse the safety of the pond for anyone outside of the Williston community. All others use the pond at their own risk.
  • A designated area of ice will be available for activities on the pond. This area shall be marked by being shoveled and cleared of all debris. Anyone looking to gain access to this area should approach it from the nearest side.
  • The designated area will be determined and created by the Physical Plant. After the initial clearing of this area, those using the ice will be responsible for keeping it shoveled off.
  • When school is not in session, the ice will not be tested and those that go out on the ice do so at their own risk.
  • Safety equipment, such as ladders and ropes, will be provided on each shore in case of an emergency. This equipment shall be visible and accessible and shall only be used in an emergency.
  • All other areas of the pond, other than the designated area and the area leading to each nearest shore, shall be considered unsafe and shall not be used or walked upon. Only the designated area will be tested for ice thickness.
  • Anyone playing hockey on the pond, using sticks and a puck(s), shall wear a helmet.
  • Both ends of the pond shall be considered unsafe. The area of the pond from the foot bridge toward the road (Park Street) and the area past the rope, which runs shore-to-shore, shall be considered unsafe! No one shall ever be on the ice in these areas!
  • The Physical Plant staff has the right to deem the ice unsafe at any time.


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