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School Delays and Closings

Reviewed May 2022

Each year school districts and administrators make difficult decisions about when to delay start, close for the day, or to have an early out. These decisions are solely local decisions. They are not taken lightly and are always made with the number one priority of keeping students and staff safe.

Several factors are taken into consideration when school is delayed or canceled:

  • First, can schools get their buses up and running without any issues? If the temperatures are cold enough, school buses may have issues running especially if the temperatures drop below zero. This can make the bus harder to start and the heaters will not work as well and windows can fog over.
  • Second, are the bus routes, main roads, and walking routes sufficiently cleared so staff, parents, and students can safely transport or walk to school? Winter driving conditions can slow bus routes and if the roads are snow and ice covered driving may not be advisable and it is not a good idea to have buses, staff, and parents on the road. Especially if the city plow trucks need to be out clearing the streets.
  • Third, is the outside temperature safe for students who have to walk to school? If it’s a negative wind chill, students who walk to school could be in danger. Frostbite can happen in a matter of minutes if the temperatures are cold enough according to the National Weather Service Wind Chill Chart.
  • Finally, logistically it may be more cost effective to close for the entire day then it would be to send buses out for a late start and an early dismissal and risk putting students in harm’s way.

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on July 05, 2022 at 10:51am.