Weather and air quality

How changing conditions affect schools

The safety of students and staff is a top priority in our decision-making.

Parents are always encouraged to consider the conditions in their neighborhood and their child’s needs in determining whether to keep their child home from school during adverse conditions. Absences are excused when a parent or guardian contacts the school within three days. It is the responsibility of the student or parent to arrange for any makeup work.

How to get updates
Answers to frequently asked questions

Winter weather conditions

Inclement winter weather may result in the following:

  • Closure
  • Late start/delay
  • Early release
  • Buses using snow routes

View snow routes

Making the decision

School closures, delays and early releases are decided as early as possible. Before deciding, we consult with a meteorologist and closely monitor weather conditions. Transportation crews begin driving in different areas of the school district to assess road conditions. The decision to close schools or delay opening them is taken very seriously. The safety of students and staff is a top priority.

Air quality

Poor air quality may result in the following:

  • Indoor P.E. classes
  • Indoor recess and sports practices
  • Extra ventilation measures in school buildings and on buses
  • Other schedule and/or operational changes such as closures, late starts/delays and early releases

Additional accommodations may be in place for students who have health conditions such as asthma, respiratory infections, heart and lung diseases or diabetes.

Making the decision

Before making any changes to school operations, we consult local and regional sources including Airnow.gov. The safety of students and staff is a top priority.

Extreme heat

In most cases, schools will continue to operate during periods of extreme heat. Most VPS schools have air conditioning.

Older schools that do not have air conditioning will be flushed with cool air early in the morning. Staff will distribute fans as needed.

High temperatures also may result in the following:

  • Indoor P.E. classes
  • Indoor recess and sports practices
  • Canceled or rescheduled sports practices and contests

Additional accommodations may be in place for students who have health conditions that may be affected by the heat.

How to find out

Frequently asked questions

Our goal is to announce delays and closures by 5 a.m. or as soon as possible in the event of an early closure. If a two-hour late start is declared the prior evening, we will attempt to announce by 7 a.m. the following day whether the late start will stand or schools will be closed entirely.

Generally speaking, only schedule changes will be announced. If no changes are reported, schools are operating on regular schedules.

If your child is a current student in the district and you did not receive a message that was sent out, it may be because your child’s school does not have your up-to-date contact information. Please contact the school’s office to confirm.

If you are signed up to receive FlashAlert messages, you may need to renew your subscription. This must be done every year.

  • Buses will arrive later than usual (e.g., two hours later than usual if there’s a two-hour late start).
  • Buses may be on snow routes.
  • No zero period for middle and high school students.
  • Before-school activities are typically canceled.
  • Breakfast will still be available.
  • Extracurricular and evening activities are typically canceled.
  • Building rental agreements are canceled.
  • The last day of school may be affected.
  • After-school and evening activities are typically canceled.
  • Elementary students who ride the bus or walk typically won’t be sent home until arrangements have been made with families.

Weather conditions vary across Southwest Washington, and one district may be more affected by bad weather than a neighboring district. Conditions can vary even within VPS, which spans 58 square miles.

Rental agreements will be canceled if schools are closed. To check on the status of a rental agreement, please call 360-313-4710 or email community services.