Ice & Snow FAQ
Adverse Weather Transportation Plan Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I find out if the district has closed schools because of snowfall?
This information is available at the following website flashalert.net
Local television stations , including the following, broadcast this information:
The following radio stations broadcast this information:
AM Radio Stations
FM Radio Stations
Please note that there may be up to a 30-minute delay for television and radio stations to broadcast this information once they receive it from the district. In addition, some television and radio stations may modify the message slightly before broadcasting it.
2. How and when does the district make a decision about closing schools due to snowfall?
If snow falls during non-school hours, transportation staff monitor weather forecasts and survey road conditions throughout the night and during early morning hours. Weather and road conditions are assessed for safe bus travel and recommendations are made to the chief operations officer, who then consults with the Superintendent.
The Superintendent makes a final decision on school operations for that day by 5 a.m. Any decision to delay or close schools is communicated via www.flashalert.net, television, radio, and district social media.
The decision is made this early to allow parents enough time to plan their day.
If snow occurs during the school day—or if a major snowfall alert is issued by the weather service during the school day, the District will evaluate the effect weather conditions have on safe transportation of students and may decide to:
- Close schools early
- Maintain normal operating hours
- Delay bus departure time until traffic conditions improve
The Superintendent will decide by 11 a.m. either to release school early or continue to operate school for a full day.
3. What kinds of announcements does the district make?
Please note that options and announcements regarding schedule changes due to ice and snow will be impacted by decisions regarding school operations for the 2020-21 school year. Additional information will be provided in the fall.
4. If a snowfall occurs and schools stay open and operate on regular routes, will there be an announcement?
No. An announcement will only be made when there is a change in normal operations.
5. Does the district have snow routes for special services students?
Yes, snow routes for students receiving specialized transportation service are developed for use when the district operates on snow routes.
Snow route service for students receiving specialized transportation could be different than service during normal operations.
Stop locations for students receiving specialized transportation service will be modified based on the guideline that all snow routes utilize streets and major arterials that have been identified by the City of Seattle to be cleared first in the event of a snowstorm. Use of these streets is to improve student safety.
6. I've noticed that sometimes schools are closed throughout the district even though there’s no snow in downtown Seattle. Why is this?
Although the downtown area may be clear, there may be ice and snow in outlying areas, side streets, and hills. The district must consider the safety of all students when making a decision about whether or not to close schools.
7. I'm a parent or guardian and my student has assigned transportation. How do I find out where my child should catch the bus if the district is on snow routes?
The district mails letters to parents/guardians or families identifying these routes during the month of November. Parents can also call 206-252-0900 to identify their snow route.
8.What is a snow route and how is it determined? Why is it different than a regular route?
The district, in collaboration with the City of Seattle, identifies centrally located streets and major arterials that will be cleared first in the event of a snowstorm. Snow routes use these streets and arterials to improve student safety.
Students snow route stop location and stop time assignment may differ from their assignment during normal operations.
9. Does the district use robo-calls to notify parents and staff about possible school closures?
Yes. If inclement weather makes a schedule change necessary, the communication office notifies families. The communications team alerts the local TV and radio stations, places a notice on the district and school websites and district social media accounts. Families will receive a phone call, email, text message, and mobile app notification, however other communication channels may be faster. The district prioritizes direct phone calls, emails, text messages to families who request a language other than English as their primary (home) language.
10. Are there winter safety tips for students who are getting ready for school
- Students should be dressed properly for the weather as transportation delays will occur.
- Students should be brightly dressed and easy to see.
- Items should be placed in a backpack or school bag, thus making hands free to be used for stability.
Students should arrive at the bus stop five minutes before the scheduled pickup up time.
11. Are there winter safety tips for students who are walking to school or to their bus stop?
- Allow extra time in the morning to get to the bus stop on time.
- Wear bright clothing so the bus driver and other motorists can see you in the early morning and late evening.
- Dress properly for the weather. Winter clothing, hats, mittens and boots will keep you warm.
- 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.
- Watch traffic while walking to your stop. Vehicles may lose control in the snow and ice and you need to be aware of your surroundings.
- Ensure your balance by walking with hands out of pockets, free from unnecessary materials.
- Young children should be walked to the bus stop; older children should walk in groups.
- When crossing a street, look left, right and left. Walk across a street at corners, use crosswalks whenever possible. Do not run.
- Be careful around cars parked along the street. Drivers coming down the street may not see you.
- Listen for the sound of car motors, sirens, horns or emergency announcements before stepping into the street.
12. Where can I find information about Metro/ORCA?
Please see the Metro website at https://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/alerts-updates/winter.aspx for their snow routes.