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SPS School Schedule Change Options and Information for Inclement Weather


February 2019 was the snowiest month in the last 50 years and resulted in multiple days of school closures and delays in Seattle. In response to student, staff, and family feedback, central office staff reviewed the district’s snow protocols and have made some changes.

Snow Route Transportation:

  • 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.
  • 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.

For additional information on snow transportation routes and services please visit the Transportation Department’s Ice and Snow Plan webpage.


School Schedule Change Options:

In order to improve predictability, the district has reduced the possible school schedule change options. There are now only three possible scenarios, with closure and a 2-hour delay being the most likely.

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

  1. 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.
  • After school activities without transportation: Check with your child’s school about athletics and after school activities that don’t require transportation.
  1. 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.
  1. All Schools Closed

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.
  2. Social Media: District Facebook and Twitter accounts: Follow us on and
  3. District and School Websites: We post school schedule updates to the district and school websites as early as possible.
  4. 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.


Beginning this school year, our goal will be to communicate the night prior to a possible school delay or closure or by 3:30 a.m. the day of the change. This means families will know earlier so they can plan. Phone calls will continue to be a back up to other communication channels and will begin at 5 a.m.

Managing Phone Calls and Communications Preferences

When there is a school schedule change, the phone number associated to student guardians is 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 notices. 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.


For more information please visit the district’s Ice and Snow Plan webpage

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