Ice and Snow Transportation Plan

Procedure for Snowfall During School Hours

Hazardous Snow or Ice Conditions Occurring During School Hours

Ice and snow conditions occurring during the school day can cause significant transportation problems in returning students to their homes.


In the event that there is snowfall after school opens OR a major snowfall alert is issued by the weather service, the superintendent will decide by 11 a.m. either to release school early or to continue to operate school for a full day.

Depending on the evaluation of several factors, such as time of day, availability of drivers, road and weather conditions, a decision will be made whether to dismiss schools early, on schedule, or to hold students until conditions improve to ensure buses can proceed through traffic.

If there is a decision to dismiss schools early, high schools and middle schools will be dismissed first, followed by elementary schools.

The following procedures will be utilized to provide the best possible service under these conditions:


If inclement weather makes a schedule change necessary, the Seattle Public Schools 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 to check.

Staff Responsibilities

Each building principal or program manager will be responsible for the following:

1. Boarding of Buses

Ensure all students board their assigned buses. No alternate transportation will be provided.

The principal or program managers may not leave the building until after all of the buses have completed their routes and the Transportation Office has been contacted.

2. Receiving Center for Other Schools

Receive students from buses unable to complete routes due to weather and street conditions. Drivers are instructed that if it is impossible to continue a route, or if it is 7 p.m., they are to proceed to a designated receiving school and escort their students into the building.

Central staff will be sent to assist at these sites. The receiving school will be responsible for contacting the sending school as well as the parents. View the list of Receiving Center School Sites

3. Students with Medical Concerns

Drivers should be kept informed by school staff about students with known medical problems that may require short rides. School staff and bus drivers need to consult about transporting these students home on school buses during inclement weather conditions. If there is concern the bus will be delayed in traffic, the school should hold the students at school and arrange for emergency transportation via 911.

Schools may have bused students with known medical problems (e.g., a diabetic requiring insulin shots) where delayed medical treatment may result in physical complications. To reduce the potential for this type of problem, schools are encouraged to maintain an emergency supply of medicine for students known to have a medical problem.

For all students who have severe, complicated or fragile medical conditions, emergency transportation plans shall be discussed and documented on the student’s Individualized Education Program or Individualized Health Plan in the fall.

Such discussion should include the parents, staff, building principal, and school nurse. Plans may include, as appropriate, retention at home, principal contacts with parents to pick-up students at the first indication of school closure or adverse weather conditions, emergency transportation, etc.