Emergency School Closings
Every decision to close or delay school is made with the understanding that many families need to find alternative care for their children when school is not in session. However, the safety of students, families, and staff is a primary concern when the district makes closure or delayed start decisions.
Who makes the decision to close school?
In accordance with district policy, all school closings and/or schedule changes are decided by the Superintendent or his designee. The most compelling reason for closing schools will be the safety of students and employees. Decisions to cancel or shorten the regular school day and after school activities shall be made by the superintendent or his designee in consultation with other staff, and may include consultation with local city personnel and neighboring school districts, as appropriate. Additionally, in situations where weather is the reason for school cancellations or delays, the district consults with the district's maintenance team, our transportation provider, and the National Weather Services ensure facilities are able to receive students and busses are able to run routes. Decisions on school closings and late starts will be made as early as possible to allow for ample notice to families and staff.
Why would the district consider closing or delaying the school day?
The decision may be the result of inclement weather, loss of power, water main break and/or other emergency situations that may occur within the district. The Superintendent works with teh district's leadership to verify the conditions of the roads and the ability for all buses to start and drivers to be able to arrive in time for routes to run.
When are decisions made to cancel school?
Whenever possible, the decision to close school will be made by 5:45 a.m.
How will staff/families be notified?
All school closing information will be communicated by the Director of Communications or designee through:
- Parent/Staff Notification System (automated voicemail)
- SMS/Text Message (as available)
- District & School websites
- Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
- Local Media Outlets - WCCO-AM Radio (830), WCCO (Channel 4), KSTP (Channel 5), FOX 9 KMSP and KARE 11 television
NOTE: local media will identify the District as South St. Paul Public Schools
How will the district determine Late Starts and Early Dismissals?
Late starts and early dismissals are inherently difficult for many programs and families. With this in mind, administration will do their best to keep these to a minimum. Early dismissals will be determined as conditions dictate. All families should have a contingency plan for their children in the event of school closings.
In the event of a LATE START, unless otherwise noted:
- Morning Early Learning programs and classes (including community preschool, ECSE, ECFE and home visits) are canceled.
- Morning Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes morning adult are canceled.
- Kids’ Choice will start late in accordance with the emergency announcement. An example, for a 2 hour late start, the program will begin at 8:30 am instead of 6:30 am.
- Preschool Care will begin at its normal start time.
- After-school Kids’ Choice is not affected.
In the event of an EARLY RELEASE, unless otherwise noted:
- Afternoon Early Learning programs and classes (including community preschool, ECSE, ECFE and home visits) may be canceled.
- Afternoon Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes are canceled.
- After school Kids’ Choice will be cancelled; Parents/guardians are responsible for picking up youth from school immediately.
Other than weather, what are the circumstances that the district may cancel school?
School may be closed or delayed due to dangerous non-winter weather, unforeseeable extenuating circumstances such as a power outage, and the like.
- The district will notify families about emergency closings or delays not related to winter weather as soon as possible. Families will be notified of any cancelations or delays through the outbound call system. Information will also be available on the district's website and social media.
- Students will only be released early in the event of an emergency.
- Families are encouraged to develop a plan with their child to prepare for a possible early dismissal. Keep in mind that students may be evacuated in certain emergency situations and may not be able to go back into the building to get keys or other belongings.
For further policy information: Policy 307 - Emergency Closing of Schools
Keep Your Contact Information Updated
In addition to broadcast radio and television, the District utilizes BlackBoard Connect 5 - a mass communication system capable of sending emergency messaging via phone, cell phone, email, and text messaging - to alert families and staff about emergency closings. This system relies on the accuracy of information held within our student information system.
To assist in keeping these records accurate, the District recommends all parent(s)/guardian(s) establish a Campus Parent Portal account to review and maintain contact preferences, contact information and email records.