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Inclement Weather Procedures

Inclement Weather Procedures

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In the Pacific Northwest, from time to time, weather may require us to change our normal operating routines. University Place School District utilizes a variety of information to determine the plan that is safest for students and staff while taking into account the impact on our families when decisions are made to close or delay school.


Recent freezing temperatures remind us that winter weather is coming. We hope our winter will be mild and school schedules will not be impacted. However, it is important to share our procedures for school delays and closures so everyone is prepared. Answers to the following questions will clarify our process for weather-related delay and closure:

How are decisions made to delay or cancel school? When snow or ice is predicted, we drive the roads before 4:30 am with buses and student drivers in mind. We also consider regional conditions that could prevent staff who live outside the district from getting to school. Forecasts are closely monitored. Our goal is to make a decision by 5:15 a.m. - if we can. On rare occasions, if we know morning conditions will be unsafe, we will make a decision and notify parents the night before. On mornings when the weather is changing, we may need to delay school first (before 5:15 AM) and then make a final decision for the day before 8 AM. Student and staff safety are our primary concern when making these decisions. Canceled days must be made up, but two-hour delays do not.

How are parents notified when school is delayed or canceled? Parents will be notified using the ParentSquare system. Make sure you have downloaded the ParentSquare app. This will allow parents to receive messages in multiple ways. We will no longer use recorded phone calls for school closures or delays. Instead, all parents will receive a text message and an email unless the “School Alert” option in ParentSquare has been intentionally disabled. The information will also be posted to our website, Twitter, Facebook, Flash Alert, and shared with local TV/ radio stations. To receive these messages, we strongly encourage parents to...

What options will the district consider when weather conditions are severe?

  • Two-Hour Late Starts allow staff additional time to get to school and prepare the grounds and facilities (i.e., deicing, clearing sidewalks, etc.). Also, conditions and visibility often improve later in the morning. On Wednesday, “late start” days, weather-related delays will be one hour from the scheduled start time for students. There is no preschool or out-of-district transportation when schools are delayed.
  • School Closure is necessary when the weather forecast and current conditions at 5:00 a.m. indicate that a late start is not possible. If a full day of school is canceled, we will make up the day later in the year.
  • Closing School after it Starts. We try to avoid bringing students to school and then sending them back home. This decision is only made on the rare occasion when weather conditions change suddenly during the school day. We try to avoid this option whenever possible. Advanced notice will always be given with additional instructions for parents and students.

How are school buses affected when it is snowing or icy?  Most of the time, buses are able to use regular routes during winter storms. In some conditions, however, buses run on “snow routes” to avoid side streets where snow or ice may be more severe. In very rare circumstances, emergency routes may be necessary. Emergency routes run only on main streets and use fewer stops. Emergency route information will be provided via email and our website as needed. If you have questions about bus routes, please call our transportation office at 566-5724.

What about after-school activities and events?  When school is closed, all after-school and evening activities will be canceled. When school is delayed, we will make a decision about after-school activities before 1 PM once we know more about the forecast and road conditions. Parents will receive additional notification during the day about these activities. 

What can families do to prepare for winter weather delays/closures?

Log into Family Access to confirm we have correct, up-to-date phone numbers and email addresses for your family. Sign up for Flash Alert, a tool that allows you to get updated weather and emergency information for local areas and for UPSD.

If your child rides a bus, please remember that pick-up and drop-off times may be impacted by snow, ice, or debris on roadways. Please visit our webpage at for route and schedule updates or contact our Transportation Office at 253-566-5724.

If your child walks to school, please talk about the hazards of walking in snow, ice, and storm conditions, particularly if it is dark outside.

Lastly, be sure to make family plans for childcare should we need to delay or cancel school due to inclement weather.

This information was updated on 10/27/2023.