School Weather Closings, Delays, and Early Dismissals

  • When inclement weather has the potential of impacting the safety of students and staff, the school district will rely upon many professional resources to guide the decision to close, delay or dismiss school. An automated announcement will be sent to families and staff and will be posted on the district website, television stations WCCO, KSTP, KARE and KMSP (Fox 9), and radio stations WCCO AM 830, KRWC AM 1360 (Buffalo). Announcements will be made when school is closed or delayed, NOT to confirm that school is on time.

    Procedures for Determining Closings and School Delays
    While school closings and delays may cause hardships for parents/guardians, a decision will always be based solely upon safety. In addition, a decision will not always be the same as the decisions of neighboring school districts because weather patterns, geographic characteristics and road conditions may be different. Whenever possible, the district will decide to close or delay school prior to 6:00 a.m. A decision to delay school two hours may be made in order to allow additional time to monitor weather, permit road crews to plow and treat roads, or allow for weather conditions to improve. A final decision to close school will be made by 8:00 a.m. if the start of school was initially delayed two hours.

    The superintendent and transportation personnel will begin at 4:00 AM. checking National Weather Service reports, radar and road conditions. The superintendent and transportation personnel will consult with other school districts for updates on road conditions and interpretation of impending weather and city snow removal crews. School closings and delays will be based upon the following:

    • Current weather conditions and future forecast including temperatures and wind chill conditions
    • The timing of the start and end of a storm and of other weather conditions such as fog and ice
    • The ability of road crews to plow and maintain roads and apply chemicals in conditions that improve road surfaces
    • The ability of district grounds staff and contracted services to remove snow in parking lots

    If because of unexpected changes in weather conditions, a decision is made to close schools after buses have begun routes, buses will be directed to complete the route and bring students to the school for further instructions. Students will be kept at the school until parents/guardians can make arrangements to pick them up.

    Occasionally, the District may issue an announcement that for safety reasons rural school buses are running on plowed roads only. This announcement will be made by an automated announcement and on the district website. This announcement will be made because city streets are plowed and safe; however rural roads are not plowed or are blowing shut. Families who live on rural roads may: 1) Keep their student home for safety reasons and call their school to report the absence, which is excused or 2) transport students to and from school themselves. All other students would be expected to attend school. This approach will provide an opportunity for education to continue for most students and at the same time maintain safe school bus travel.

    Bus drivers have the discretion to determine if it is safe to drive on a road. If a driver makes a decision not to drive on a road, the driver will contact the dispatcher who will contact the district office with the names of students who will not be picked up. District and building personnel will notify parents/guardians or emergency contacts.

    These guidelines do not preclude closing school in other situations where, in the estimation of the Superintendent, student and employee safety warrants closure.

    Early Dismissal
    Early dismissal may occur because of weather conditions that may result in unsafe road conditions during normal dismissal times. The decision to dismiss school early will be made approximately two hours before the early dismissal time, whenever possible. In all weather-related instances, notifications will be communicated to parents/guardians via automated announcement and email at least one hour prior to the dismissal of students in order to provide time for parents/guardians to make arrangements.

    All activities and practices are canceled when school is closed or dismissed early.

    Cold Weather Guidelines
    The district uses the National Weather Service Wind Chill Chart to decide to delay or close school. Road conditions may also be a factor.

    Communication and Notifications
    Families should always assume schools are open and in session unless they hear or see differently from an official source. Websites will only indicate when schools are closed or delayed; not when they remain open. If schools will be using a 2-hour late start or canceling altogether, the District will notify parents starting at approximately 5:30 AM on the day of the late start or cancellation. On occasion, decisions may be communicated the night before the late start or cancellation.

    For school closings, delays or early dismissal communication to parents/guardians and staff will occur as follows:

    • An automated announcement by voice, email and text will be sent to families and staff
    • An announcement on the district website
    • Announcements on WCCO, KSTP, KARE and KMSP (Fox 9), but cannot guarantee how or when the media will report the information we provide to them.

    Kids Play
    If school is closed before the start of school (7:45 AM) or after a two-hour delay that is changed to a school closing before the start of school, Kids Play/Just 4 Kids will be closed.  Parents/guardians will be notified to pick up their child as soon as possible.

    If school closed early, all Kids Play children that are scheduled to attend on that day for the 2:00-6:00 PM program will be sent to their scheduled site.  Kids Play/Just 4 Kids will remain open until 4:00 PM.  The programs reserve the right to close earlier if the weather is severe.