Inclement Weather Information
From time to time, our normal operating hours or transportation services may be adjusted due to ice or snow.
Notification Methods for School Closures or Delays
If inclement weather makes a schedule change necessary, the decision will be communicated through the following methods:
Phone calls and email: Automated phone calls and email from the district to parents or guardians for each family. Please be sure your contact information is up to date. Please use the Student Verification Form to update or add a phone number and email address. This form is sent home from your student's school every Sept.
Web and Social Media: The home page of the Seattle Public Schools' district and school websites will publish any schedule changes.
Local media outlets:The district will notify local media of any closures or delays.
Local television and radio stations, including the following, broadcast this information.
- KOMO News: KOMO 4 TV KOMO 1000 AM Radio
- KING 5
- KIRO: KIRO 7 TV KIRO 97.3 FM Radio
The SPS Transportation's Ice and Snow Transportation Plan offers details about inclement weather procedures, timelines and resources.
The above communications will provide the best source of information regarding school closures and road conditions. Please be mindful that schools have limited phone lines and staff answering phone calls. Please reserve calls to your student's school for those that are most urgent.
Options for Schedule Changes
For questions regarding childcare, please check directly with your provider regarding their services.
Full-day school cancellation/closing
Students should not report to school.
No preschool or head start classes.
The district will notify parents or guardians of early release using School Messenger automated calls.
Delayed school opening with regular bus routes
Two-hour late start with buses operating on regular routes.
- No door-to-door transportation service, unless it has been prearranged.
- No preschool or head start classes.
Example: if your student has a scheduled pick-up time of 7 a.m., you can expect the bus to arrive at approximately 9 a.m.
Delayed school opening with snow route service
Two-hour late start with buses operating on snow routes. When buses operate on snow routes, SPS buses travel exclusively on roads that are maintained by the City of Seattle and receive snow removal. The stop location and time differs from normal bus assignment. Snow routes are customized each year and mailed to students. If students, parents or guardians need to know more information about snow routes, they can ask the school office staff or contact the transportation department. Open the Seattle Dept. of Transportation 2016-17 Winter Weather Map
No preschool or head start classes.
If the district makes snow routes announcements the following may also be canceled or altered:
Read more about transportation in the event of ice or snow.
- All special service house pick-up routes (unless it has been prearranged)
- All noon routes
- All before and after school activity routes
- All field/athletic trips
- All mid-day shuttles (XIP, Therapy, etc.)
- All out-of-district routes
Students who take Metro Bus Service
For those students who use King County's Metro bus service for school transportation, please visit the Metro online guide for their emergency ice and snow schedule. metro.kingcounty.gov/alerts/snow/
Preparing for Inclement Weather
Seattle is unique in that snow may accumulate in one area and not in other areas. As the decision is being considered to operate on snow routes or to close schools, circumstances in the entire city are carefully considered, as well as weather reports and any other pertinent information. However, experience has proven that weather reports related to snow are typically inaccurate. With this in mind, your patience and understanding during these emergency conditions will be appreciated.
It is the responsibility of each family to have an inclement weather plan in place that can be put into action on short notice. We ask that you make sure your children have an alternate place to stay if you must be at work on a day when school has been delayed or canceled.
Please ensure that a neighbor, family member or center is able to care for or receive students, and please instruct students to report directly home or to their established care center immediately on arrival in the evening.
Winter Safety Tips for Students Walking to School or Bus Stop
Students should allow extra time to get to their school or bus stop in the morning. Arrival at the bus stop five (5) minutes before the scheduled pickup time is recommended.
Bright clothing will make students more visible for bus drivers and other motorists, especially in the early morning and late evening. Warm clothing is also recommended as transportation delays may occur.
Please walk with young children to their school or bus stop; older children should walk in groups. The location of a student's bus stop may be different from their normal stop location if the district is operating on snow routes.
Pedestrian travel should be done on sidewalks or a safe walking path.
- When there is no sidewalk and you have to walk on the road, be sure to walk facing traffic.
- Walk across a street at corners, use crosswalks whenever possible.
- When crossing a street, look left, right and left.
- Listen for the sound of car motors, sirens, horns or emergency announcements before stepping into the street.
For more information, visit our Inclement Weather Transportation Plan webpage.