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    Weather Watch
    Posted on 02/02/2020
    Blue graphic with logo and text "Winter Weather Preparation"

    Weather Watch

    From time to time, winter weather may change the normal schedule at your student's school. Now is a good time to review how you will receive urgent weather information from Seattle Public Schools and how to manage your communication preferences.

    When determining if school schedule changes are necessary, Seattle Public Schools officials carefully monitor weather forecasts and work with city and county officials for information related to road conditions.


    Winter Weather School Schedule Change Options

    Below are the three scenarios and the effect on school programs and services.

    • Two hours late; Buses operating on snow routes When the district is operating on snow routes (two-hour delay) the following changes apply:
      • Preschool: Morning half-day preschool is closed including Head Start and Developmental Preschool. Afternoon half-day preschool, Head Start, and Developmental Preschool are on a regular schedule, but no district transportation provided. Full day preschool, SPP, and Head Start are running.
      • Skills Center: Morning Skills Center classes are cancelled. Afternoon Skills Center classes are running, but no district yellow bus transportation provided.
      • Childcare: Please check with your childcare provider for before or after school care.
      • No out-of-district transportation provided.
      • After school activities without transportation: Check with your child’s school about athletics and after school activities that don’t require transportation.
    • Early Release
      If weather conditions decline during the day, students will be released early from school. There will be no after school athletics or activity transportation provided. No afternoon childcare or programming will be provided in Seattle Public Schools buildings.
    • All Schools Closed

    Snow routes: When buses operate on snow routes, Seattle Public Schools buses travel primarily on roads that are maintained by the City of Seattle and receive snow removal. The stop location and time can differ from normal bus assignment.

    All full-time students that qualify for in-district, yellow bus transportation including district SPP full day preschool, Head Start, and special education programming will be provided a snow route. These snow routes are automatically assigned and communicated to qualifying families by the SPS Transportation Department. Parents may call 206-252-0900 to identify their snow route.

    Alternative transportation (non-yellow school bus) will be provided for in-district students, conditions permitting for students who currently use alternative transportation. The Transportation Department will communicate directly with effected families.

    To learn more about the Ice and Snow Transportation Plan, visit the district’s transportation webpage.

    Visit the SDOT Winter Response webpage for information about the city streets that SDOT clears and to review the Winter Weather Brochure and Snow Route Map.

    Special Services Students: All buses who serve special education students will use the same snow route stops as the buses that serve general education students. All students who use district transportation will receive a route notification letter.

    Child Care Providers: For questions regarding child care, please check directly with your provider regarding their services. You can find a directory of many of the school-based and near by child care providers that serve Seattle Public Schools on our Child Care Providers webpage.

    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.

    SPS Staff: In case of inclement weather events, staff should monitor the local media, district websites, social media or Flash Alert to learn if there is a school delay or closure. An automated email will be sent to all employees as a backup notification. If the district has not communicated a schedule change, schools and the John Stanford Center (JSCEE) will operate on regular hours. Please refer to the January 12 email about inclement weather work expectations outlined in CBA and other contracts.

    Staying Informed

    If weather conditions make a schedule change necessary, the district will communicate the decision through the following methods and in this order:

    1. TV and Radio Stations: Checking the local television or radio stations is an effective and efficient way to find out if there is a schedule change.
      Local TV stations: TV KOMO 4, KING 5, KIRO 7, Q13 FOX
      Radio: KOMO AM 1000, KIRO 97.3 FM
    2. Flash Alert notification system: Check or subscribe for emergency districtwide closures at Seattle Public Schools on Flash Alert
    3. Social Media: District Facebook and Twitter accounts: Follow us on and
    4. District and School Websites: We post school schedule updates to the district and school websites.
    5. Phone calls, emails, and text messages: Families will receive a phone call, email, text message, and mobile app notification, however other communication channels may be faster to check.

    Managing Phone Calls and Communications Preferences

    It is important to keep up-to-date contact information on record with your student's school.

    When there is a school schedule change, the phone number listed as guardian contacts are called. While you need at least one phone number on record, you can manage your communication preferences and designate which phone is called for weather updates.

    Directions on how to manage your preferences, in multiple languages, can be found on our Communications Preferences webpage.

    School Year Calendar Dates

    As defined by our collective bargaining agreement, we have three snow makeup days. For the 2019-20 these days are: Jan. 29, June 19 and June 22.

    Because makeup days are negotiated with our labor partner, Seattle Education Association, we need to follow the contract as well as ensure students have 180 contact days in school. Please be aware of these dates when making vacation and family plans.

    View the School Year Calendar Dates including snow make-up dates.

    Preparing for Inclement Weather

    Seattle is unique in that snow may accumulate in one area and not in other areas. Circumstances across the entire city are carefully considered when deciding impact on school operations. Weather forecasts and conditions change, and the district must make a decision that applies to all schools. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we evaluate all these factors.

    Each family should have an inclement weather plan that can be put into action on short notice. Identify an alternate place for your child 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.

    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.