Inclement Weather Procedures

Inclement Weather

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 fog, sleet, rain and wind remind us that winter weather is coming. We hope our winter will be mild and school schedules will not be impacted by winter storms. However, it is still important that we share our procedures for school delays and closures with families 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?
On days when snow and/or ice are predicted, we drive the main bus routes before 4:30 am. We assess local roads with buses and student drivers in mind. In addition, we consider regional conditions that impact staff members traveling into University Place and we closely monitor forecasts. Our goal is to make a decision by 5:15 a.m. whenever possible. Student and staff safety are our primary concern when making these decisions. We never want to close or delay school, but sometimes student and staff safety require us to do so. Canceled days must be made up. School days that are delayed do not need to be made up.

How are parents notified when school is delayed or canceled?
Information is sent to parents by telephone and email using our automated messenger system. It is also 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. There is no preschool or out-of-district transportation when schools are delayed.
  • Canceling School is necessary when the weather forecast and current conditions at 5:00 a.m. indicate that a late start is not possible. School closure is usually a result of snow and/or ice, but it is also possible for other reasons (i.e., wind, power outages, etc.).
  • 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.

How are school buses affected when it is snowing or icy? Most of the time, buses are able to travel normal routes during winter storms. In some conditions, however, we will run buses on “snow routes” to avoid side streets where snow or ice may be more severe. When buses are on snow routes, they will have a limited number of stops, generally located at the entrances to neighborhoods or on well-traveled streets. Snow routes are utilized when main roads are in safe, passable condition but neighborhood and side-streets are not.

If your student rides a school bus it is important that you know about these special routes. The routes are posted on our website. (Select “Transportation” from the “Departments” menu and then choose “Snow/Delay Routes”). If you have questions about snow routes, please call our transportation office at 566-5724.

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 (see link above).

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 take time to 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 cancel school before it starts. We recognize this is disruptive to families and we will do our best to avoid school closures.