Inclement Weather Communication

Information and Procedures

Student and staff safety is a priority in District 303 and, therefore, there may be times when the superintendent makes the decision to close school or implement a delayed start schedule. School closures due to inclement weather conditions (snow, ice, or dangerous wind chill factors), or other emergency situations that threaten the safety of District 303 students and employees can consist of a:

  • Full-day school closure
  • Two-hour delayed start time
  • Early dismissal

Fluctuations in forecasts and shifts in weather events may force us to delay our decision until the morning. It is our goal to notify families as early as possible when inclement weather impacts the school schedule.

The District monitors the National Weather Service for updates about snow accumulation and temperatures, including wind chill advisories and warnings, and event duration. In addition, we assess conditions by:

  • Checking road conditions within the city and in rural areas to determine if buses are able to safely transport students
  • Ensuring that sidewalks and parking lots around schools are cleared, treated, and safe
  • Consulting with surrounding school districts to gauge conditions in neighboring communities

Should weather impact normal operations of the district, the following options may be initiated:

Option 1: School Closure

Weather-related events might trigger the need to close schools. A closure is called as a means to protect all of our students, staff, and parents. The decision to close school is based upon the following factors:

  • Hazardous Road Conditions – Our local municipalities do an excellent job ensuring our local roads are cleared and salted following a storm. However, they cannot control the duration, intensity or timing for each weather event. Please remember that District 303 is large in geographic size and has both suburban and rural areas. While one part of the District may seem to have clear roads, another can still have impassable roads. When road conditions are deemed hazardous, we may opt to close school.
  • Extremely Low/Hazardous Temperatures: Most District 303 students spend a portion of their commute to and from school as bus riders or walkers. As such, we must recognize the potential dangers of exposing students to hazardous conditions. While there are no specific temperatures which automatically trigger a decision to close school, forecast temperatures between -20 and -30 degrees create a significant risk of hypothermia, frostbite, and asthma. The District may opt to close schools if the projected temperatures are forecast to remain at these low levels throughout the day.

Option 2: Delayed Start

Late night or early morning storms may prevent us from being able to open schools immediately. The District stays in contact with city officials and other regional staff to be informed of timelines for roads, lots, and sidewalks in and around District 303 to be cleared.

Extreme cold temperatures are also a concern. Temperatures tend to dip steadily just prior to sunrise.

If the District finds that road conditions and/or temperatures will improve steadily through the morning, then we may implement a delayed start.

In a delayed start the District will push back the start time for each school, along with bus routes, by a time consistent with the improving weather conditions (usually two hours). A delayed start also means that all morning activities are cancelled (e.g. practices and drivers education, clubs, before school care).

Due to the transportation requirements of a delayed start, all morning early childhood, preschool, and kindergarten programs (including extended day at Davis Primary) are cancelled. Afternoon early childhood, preschool and kindergarten programs will operate on schedule.

  • When the start of school is delayed, classes will end at their regular time (if delayed on a high school early release day, the early release is cancelled.)
  • School lunches will still be served.

A decision to close or delay the start of school will be communicated with families through the automated email and phone notification system. Information will also be prominently displayed on the District 303 website, publicized on the District 303 social media pages, and appear on local television and radio stations through the Emergency Closing Center.

Option 3: Early Dismissal

In rare circumstances, an unanticipated weather or building event may occur during the school day and the District may choose to dismiss students early. The severity and timing of the inclement weather conditions, or severity of a building event, make it difficult to accurately predict an actual dismissal or home arrival time. District 303 will communicate with affected families through the automated email and phone notification system, and communicate release procedures on a case-by-case basis.