School Closings: What Parents Need To Know

Schools are supposed to be a safe place for kids—but what do you do when there’s a threat of violence in the air? Whether it’s a specific threat on school grounds or a looming natural disaster, keeping kids safe on the way to and from school is top priority for parents and educators alike. Fortunately, most school closings and delays don’t endanger students or staff. Most school closing and delay situations are handled calmly and efficiently, with the same level of concern any time children are involved.

What Happens When Schools Close?

In the event of a threat on school property or at a school event, the school will decide whether to cancel classes or dismiss early. The threat needs to be serious enough to warrant this action, and teachers and staff should be consulted. If it’s safe to keep kids at school, classes will continue as scheduled. On the other hand, if the threat is so severe that it puts the safety of students or teachers at risk, an early dismissal or school closure will be the only appropriate response. What About Openings? If a school does close, it’s only opening for first hour, second hour, third hour, and fourth hour, and teachers and staff will keep their same schedule for those first few hours. After the initial closures, schools usually reopen.

What Do Parents Need To Know When School Closes?

When school closings or delays happen, your job is to take care of your family. Your children’s safety is your top priority. Fortunately, with the right preparation and tools, you can prevent the risk of any problems. The first thing you need to know is what to do if schools are closed for any reason. 1. Check School Closings Check the weather forecast before you go to bed every night, and on the weekends. In the winter, make sure your school is closed on days when the snow is forecast. On the flip side, if the snow predictions are very low, you’ll need to check often to make sure your kids are still on track for getting to school. 2. Check For Closing Alerts School officials are often notified of a delayed or canceled school.

What Do Parents Need To Know When Schools Delay Their Opening Time?

It’s also important to know what parents and schools should do in situations when there is no danger of harm, and no actual threat of violence. The most important factor here is the safety of kids, and so schools are encouraged to issue delays if a situation has the potential to disrupt instruction, such as hazardous road conditions, snow, flooding, or hazardous, icy conditions. But for the best protection, schools are not obligated to close—and in some cases, a delay might be in the best interest of students. “Even though we are at our best when we think clearly, a delay and an hour less sleep will not negatively affect a child’s ability to learn,” said Ogechi Anozie-Eboh, Director of National Student Outreach for the KIPP organization.

What Should Parents Do When The School Closes Early?

For parents with kids who are scheduled to attend schools in Hurricane Irma’s path, waiting out the storm with their children in the wake of a devastating storm may be the best option, even if they feel like it’s a bad decision. Staying at home while school is closed could pose serious risks to safety. During a weather emergency, parents and teachers are under incredible pressure to ensure the safety of students. Often, this means maintaining the required level of water pressure in school pipes. But sometimes, pressure in pipes can be dropped even further in the event of severe flooding. If pipes break or burst due to flooding, they could lead to a dangerous buildup of water, dangerous chemicals and potentially dangerous mold.

What Should Parents Do When The School Closes Late?

When schools close in the middle of the day—or just after school starts, if parents have kids who don’t have bus services— parents need to know how to communicate with schools in a safe and productive way. It’s important to remember that you don’t need to call every school in the district if the one you want to call closes early. By the same token, it’s not good form to call too many schools, since there are some that you’ll just be wasting your time.

What Should Parents Know When The School Is On Winter Break?

Schools are still trying to make up for lost time after the holidays, when some schedules were altered, so some schools have had a snow day, even though it’s not even officially winter yet. In addition to closing or delaying school for days at a time, schools may also go through a routine cycle called a “closing list.” In this system, the principal might decide to cancel classes every day, which then gets consolidated into a closing list the next day. This list is usually extended every week or so and may change again and again until the weather has subsided or spring break begins. With multiple closings and delays that come and go each week, it can be challenging to keep up with all the different school closures.


What Should Parents Know When The School Is On Summer Break?

When school is out for summer, things are slightly different, because there are no longer any school employees, including teachers, police officers, security personnel, counselors, etc. They’re not there for the summer break. But during summer break, this means kids are left unattended for extended periods of time, with only the teachers to ensure the students are being watched over. While summer is an important time for kids to catch up on their sleep, explore the outdoors, and visit with friends, it’s also an opportunity for kids to be missing from school more than usual. And because most school personnel have to work, these situations can get out of hand quickly.


Schools are one of the safest places to be when there’s an imminent danger, so we want to make sure you know what to do if your child or grandchild is involved. A change in routine or a change in the daily habits they enjoy can have major impacts on children and their ability to cope. And be mindful, if you can’t keep your child home from school, make sure you’re always available to help the school work through any problem, even if it means a longer workday for you. What tips would you give parents of young children during storms and other dangerous weather situations?

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

School Closings and Delays for Tomorrow