Spokane Public Schools will be open daily as scheduled, regardless of weather, unless a closure or late start announcement is made. Students who bus or walk to school are encouraged to dress warmly during the winter. Students who bus may experience delays when there is snow or ice on the ground due to slow traffic. The superintendent has final authority in deciding whether or not to close schools due to inclement weather. Closure information will be broadcast by the local media beginning at approximately 6:00 a.m. as on spokaneschools.org and the district FaceBook page. Closure notices will also be sent using the district's notification system, BrightArrow. Parents and guardians can update their notification preferences here.
In the event that it is necessary to close schools during the school day, special consideration will be given to early dismissal of those students bused. Building administrators have plans of action for each school that will safeguard students in the event of inclement weather resulting in early closure of schools.
Inclement Weather ProceduresIt is the goal of Spokane Public Schools to keep schools open during snowy weather. However, safety is never compromised when reaching a decision about school closures or late starts. Prior to making a decision, district officials consult with the City of Spokane and Durham Bus Services regarding road conditions, and with school administrators and maintenance and custodial staff regarding school building, sidewalk and parking lot conditions. While safety is the primary concern, state law requires the district to be in session 180 days. If the district closes schools, days must be made up at a later time during the school year.
For many of our students, school is the safest place to be during inclement weather. In many cases, both parents and/or guardians work outside the home. Schools provide a warm, supervised environment for the children. However, parents are always encouraged to consider the conditions of their neighborhood and the well being of their students in deciding whether to keep their student home. Students are excused from school when parents so request.
Snow Watch Program
The Snow Watch Program will begin the first week of November and continue through the third week of March. Each week during this period, a designated Durham Transit employee will be responsible for monitoring the local weather reports and forecasts. This person will visually check outdoor conditions during the evening and early morning hours and may be required to drive various routes.
If it has snowed overnight or snow is in the forecast, the senior operations manager at Durham, or his/her designee, will contact the district’s Safety & Transportation director between 4:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. to review weather conditions and determine what actions will be taken. These may include possible late routes, school closures, and/or canceled or altered routes.
Snow removal in district parking lots begins when snow accumulation is, or is forecasted to be, three to four inches (3” – 4”) or more. Maintenance and/or Custodial staff will clear school sidewalks as needed.
The district’s Transportation department will determine if selected routes need to be revised based on weather and subsequent dangerous road conditions. This information will be disseminated by Durham through a parent phone chain for the families involved. Routes most likely to be affected are those outside the city limits.Severe Weather
Unless weather conditions are too extreme, students will continue to have outdoor activities during the course of the day. Fresh air and physical activities promote health, help develop strong bodies and improve learning in the classroom. We urge parents to make sure their children are dressed appropriately.
Tips on how to dress during cold weather
On occasion, weather conditions may be too extreme for outdoor activities. These would include heavy precipitation (rain or snow), severe winds, extreme temperatures and extremely low wind chill factors. Local weather advisories are provided by the National Weather Service. School administrators should periodically check this website for changes in weather patterns and updates on weather alerts.
- Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Trapped air between the layers will insulate you. Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent, and hooded.
- Wear a hat; 40 percent of your body heat can be lost from your head.
- Wear mittens. Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves to keep your hands warm.
- Try to stay dry and out of the wind.
- Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extreme cold. This is especially important if you have a respiratory condition such as asthma.
School administrators will often refer to the wind chill chart below to help determine if outdoor activities are appropriate for their students and staff. Proper dress is important for protection from the elements. Students and employees should dress appropriately for the weather conditions.