How do you decide whether or not to close school when it snows?
The staff monitors or receives weather and highway information from the National Weather Service, State and local law enforcement, the City of Pullman Transit Department, and the Department of Transportation. District transportation, maintenance, and administrative staff assess the travel and snow removal conditions throughout the district between 2:00am and 5:30am. They report to the superintendent or designee with recommendations regarding the safety on transportation routes and feasibility and snow removal. A decision is made regarding school opening and communications with staff and media are initiated before 6:00am if possible. If school is to open on time buses are on the road between 6:45 and 7:00am.
What if the District holds school but the parent decides it is unsafe for their child to go to school?
The decision to hold school is one that is made regarding general conditions and the District’s ability to respond to snow removal, maintain reasonably safe road conditions at the schools, and move buses safely on streets, roads and highways. Unique conditions at a child’s home, a parent’s individual judgment about the safety of driving conditions, and the parent’s individual judgment about his/her child’s ability to maneuver in and cope with the conditions will be honored as it is when a parent makes a judgment for other health and safety reasons to keep their child at home.
Why are some districts open and others closed?
We make our decision based on available information about conditions within our district. Every district has their own unique resources and conditions (equipment, staff, topography, etc.) to cope with winter conditions. The weather conditions can vary considerably from one district to another, and even within a district with a large geographic area such as Pullman’s.
Why do you open school when some rural routes are not served by the District’s transportation?
Every student’s attendance is important to us. However, there will always be unique situations that will prevent some students from attending school. Some rural routes may be passable with a smaller vehicle when a bus cannot use a route because the turn around is limited or the road too narrow for a bus to travel. Usually our attendance is not significantly diminished by altering our routes to emergency rural routes only. When we determine that nearly all students can get to school we will choose to keep them open.
When would you close school early because of snow?
If the conditions that we monitor to decide to open school deteriorate during the school day such that the District is unable to adequately respond to snow removal, maintain reasonably safe conditions at the schools, or move busses safely on streets, roads, and highways a decision will be considered to close school. Once children are at school it is generally safer to keep them there until the end of the school day since there may not be anyone at home to receive some children. The option to transport students early who live in rural areas only may be considered if conditions warrant.