Winter Weather Cancellations
Information for parents about school cancellations due to inclement weather.
How is the decision made to cancel school?
We take winter-weather decisions very seriously. We watch forecasts well in advance of a winter storm and participate in school-specific webinars from the National Weather Service (NWS). If inclement weather begins overnight, we have various staff and other city and county partners report back to us early in the morning about the condition of the roads.
Our buses need to safely travel a wide range of roads, including many rural areas where it takes time for plows to clear the roads. If there is blowing snow and drifting, it can make roads hazardous to drive even after they’ve been plowed.
We also have to consider the safety of students waiting at their bus stops. Bitterly cold temperatures, wind chill and/or winter storms can all add risk for the student waiting at the bus stop, especially if the bus comes late due to the same inclement weather. Generally, we use the Wind Chill Warning guidelines provided by the NWS when considering closing school due to extreme cold temperatures. The NWS issues a wind child warning when the air temperature or wind chill is forecasted to be -35 degrees.
What about late starts?
If the roads or weather conditions are poor in the morning, but will improve within a few hours, we call a late start rather than cancel the full day of school. When that happens, you can figure out your child’s bus pick-up time, or school start time by simply adding the delayed time to their usual time. For instance, if school is delayed two hours, and their bus usually comes at 6:30, their new bus time will be 8:30.
What about early dismissal?
It is more challenging when inclement weather is forecasted to begin in the morning and worsen throughout the day. With our two rounds of busing it can take 2-3 hours for us to transport all of our students home from school. Weather can worsen significantly over 2-3 hours, so rather than call an early dismissal, we usually rely on weather forecasts and call off the entire day of school.
When is the decision made to cancel school?
We make the decision as early as we can, depending on the variability in the weather forecast. If it looks like there is a chance weather conditions will allow us to hold school as scheduled, we will wait to make the decision until early in the morning prior to the start of school.
How does the district notify the community when school is canceled?
We send direct emails, texts and phone calls to parents of enrolled students. That contact information comes directly from the student’s record, so parents and families should make sure that their contact information is up-to-date.
We also place a pop-up notice on all district and school websites and notify the local TV news stations (KSTP, KARE, KMSP and WCCO).
When is it a “snow day” and when is it an “eLearning day?”
Our district calendar is arranged to allow two traditional snow days, where no school work is expected from students at home. If two snow days have already been called for the school year, the district will begin using eLearning days, where the student remains at home and completes school work online or with materials provided the day before. Messages sent to parents and posted on our district website will notify parents when it is an eLearning day.