School Closures & Delays

School Closures & Delays
Posted on 11/26/2018
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When bad weather hits, school districts must make the decision whether to keep school open, delay for a couple of hours and see if conditions improve, or close schools for the day.  Many parents do not realize that by 4:30 AM or earlier, district superintendents and transportation directors are awake and driving their community roads to determine if the roads are too icy and dangerous for buses and safe transportation to and from school.  The safety and wellbeing of students is at the forefront of the administrator’s mind when making this call.

How is the decision made?

Each school district (or private school) makes an independent decision whether to close or delay their school(s).  The decision process whether to close or delay school is typically as follows:

  • Transportation supervisor and/or superintendent drives all routes to assess road conditions

  • Transportation supervisor advises superintendent of road conditions

  • Superintendent confers with other local superintendents

  • Superintendent makes final decision to keep school open, close, implement a two-hour delay or early release

How is the decision communicated?

Across Southeast Washington, public and private school systems partner with ESD 123 to utilize FlashAlert Newswire® to deliver their crucial emergency information to local news media. FlashAlert is used by schools, police, cities and other organizations from Colorado to Alaska. FlashAlert is free for the public and the media to use, and comes at a minimal cost to schools.

You can learn more about how FlashAlert works, which schools use the service, and how you can sign up for free to receive your school’s emergency messages straight to your phone and/or email.  Visit the ESD 123 FlashAlert page here, or contact Molly Curtiss at 509.544.5787 or

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