Inclement Weather

When the St. Joseph community experiences inclement weather conditions, the safety of the students and staff in the St. Joseph School District is the most important consideration. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions we receive regarding inclement weather.

Q: How is the decision made to cancel school for inclement weather?

The Director of Student Services, along with Apple bus drivers, begin driving routes as early as 3:30 a.m. on the morning of a snowfall or ice storm to test road conditions and driving conditions. Even if the roads are initially satisfactory, the drivers may make several trips if snow continues to fall, or if the weather continues to deteriorate. SJSD administrators also stay in close contact with city officials and authorities to determine the safety of the roads.

By 6:00 a.m, the Superintendent of Schools must make a decision about school cancellations so bus drivers and media can be notified. Prior to that time, the drivers keep in contact and give regular updates regarding road conditions. The superintendent considers several factors in making the final decision: weather predictions, highway department preparedness, time of day, wind-chill factor, as well as the drivers' reports. 

Q: Where will information be posted regarding school closing?

The SJSD will post the information in the following places:
Twitter: ‪St. Joseph Schools ‪@StJosephSchools
SJSD Website:
Cable Channel 13

SJSD Mobile App: Receive school cancellation notifications directly to your mobile phone and have all your updates and calendars in one place. Go to your Google Play or iTunes store and search “St. Joseph School District” for the free app. Then choose which school(s) you would like to receive notifications and updates.

SchoolMessenger Communicate Alerts: SchoolMessenger Communicate is our phone, text and e-mail alert system. Parents of students and their emergency contacts are enrolled in the program at registration. If you are a community member and you would like to receive alerts please contact the Communications Department at 816-671-4008 or email [email protected] 

Local media will be sent information regarding school closings as well.

Q. My part of the city is safe to drive. Why are we canceling school?

St. Joseph has a wide variety of roads and terrain, including areas with narrow, steep hills that can become impassible in certain weather conditions, and rural areas where snow removal can be challenging. Your part of the city may be passable, but that does not mean that buses can safely take children to school in all parts of St. Joseph.

Q: What if bad weather arrives when children are in school?

If inclement weather arrives while students are in school, a decision to close school for the remainder of the day may be made. This decision will be made by 10:00 a.m. so as not to interfere with lunch schedules and preschool schedules. School principals will be contacted immediately. Buses will load students according to the normal dismissal order. All students picked up by parents may leave school as soon as parents arrive.

Q: Will all after-school activities be canceled if school is closed?

Typically, after-school student activities will be canceled when school has been closed all day or closed early. Please check the district website, or your school's website, for specific information.

Q: What can parents do to help their students and schools prepare?

Here are four suggestions to prepare: (1) Review the information you have listed as emergency contacts and make sure that the numbers are updated. (2) Contact your childcare facility, if necessary, to find out what their procedures are for inclement weather. (3) Make plans ahead of time and communicate them with your children so they understand what to expect during an early school dismissal due to inclement weather. (4) Understand that school closings are for the safety of children throughout the district. While the condition of your neighborhood streets may be fine, other areas of the district may be experiencing harsher weather or have more challenging road conditions.

Q. My streets are pretty slick. Why wasn't school cancelled?

We encourage parents and teenage drivers to use extreme caution when driving in less than ideal conditions. Again, while your neighborhood might have more difficult driving conditions, others areas may not.

Q. Other districts are closing for weather. Why aren't we?

Each district has its own unique set of weather, roads and city or county snow removal procedures. Additionally, nearby districts may receive slightly different weather or have different road conditions. We drive routes throughout our district to make sure that buses and cars can get through and make the decision based on the specific conditions in St. Joseph.

Q. Why are closure decisions sometimes delayed until the morning?

Weather is very unpredictable. Frequently predictions of heavy snowfall or extreme cold do not end up causing conditions that would justify cancelling school. Waiting until morning allows us to drive the roads and make the call based on actual weather and road conditions.

Q. Why doesn't the SJSD have late starts instead?

It is extremely challenging for our bus drivers and schools to utilize a late start schedule and can cause additional scheduling difficulties for parents and the schools. While we always encourage good attendance, and we believe that students should be in school whenever it is in session, parents can make the decision to keep students at home if they believe that road or weather conditions make travel to school unsafe.

Q. I am an employee. Should I go to work on a snow day?

Please see Employee Inclement Weather Work Schedule.

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