FAQ about Winter Weather

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. 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 6:00 am, if possible.

What if the District operates school but the parent decides it is unsafe for their child to go to school?

The decision to operate schools is one that is made after reviewing general conditions and the District's ability to respond to snow removal, maintain safe parking lots and sidewalks 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 their 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 the Pullman School District.

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 be times when unique situations prevent some students from attending school during winter weather or other hazardous conditions. Some rural routes may be passable with a smaller vehicle when a bus cannot use a route because the turnaround is limited or the road too narrow for a bus to travel. Usually our attendance is not significantly diminished by altering our rural routes to emergency rural routes only.\

When would you close school early because of snow?

If the weather conditions 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 buses safely on streets, roads, and highways a decision will be considered to close school early. Typically, 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.

When do you cancel outdoor recess?
Decisions regarding outdoor recess are made based on a number of factors including, but not limited to, temperature, wind chill, precipitation, and the ability of students to dress for the conditions. Experts agree that outdoor exercise benefits student learning and behavior, as long as the students are properly dressed for the conditions. We use a “temperature with wind chill” measure to determine if the temperature is appropriate to hold outdoor recess (other factors are also taken into account). Individual schools will base decisions on their schools microclimate.

Temperature with wind chill:

  • 32º F and above – Outdoor recess can be held
  • 13-31º F – Students can participate in outdoor recess, and should return indoors after 20-30 minutes
  • 12º F or less – Students will have indoor recess