School Closures and Delays
What if it snows? What if the roads are icy? Will school be cancelled?
Winter weather may bring road and driving conditions that cause changes in school operations such as delayed opening, early dismissal, or closure.
Even when road conditions in one part of the district appear passable, driving conditions on hills and in other areas of the district can impact the operation of buses on some routes.
- Normal school operations will prevail unless a change of schedule is announced.
- Expect morning buses to be late during severe weather.
- If buses cannot complete afternoon routes, students will be returned to their schools.
Our goal is to make information available to families about school closure or changes in the school operations by 5:30 a.m.
We provide this information to families in a variety of ways:
- Prominently displayed on our district homepage.
- Social media posts on the district Facebook and Twitter accounts.
- Local television and radio news stations.
If you do not see Federal Way School District closure information on any of these communications channels, it means we are operating on a normal schedule.
When winter weather or hazardous driving conditions result in school operations, the district will announce either a 2-hour late start or closed status with or without limited transportation.
Two Hours Late
- All schools will begin two hours later than normal.
- Bus pick-up schedules will also be two hours later than normal.
- Although buses will start their routes on the two-hour late schedule, road and traffic conditions may impede progress, so buses could be running later.
- Buses will use regularly scheduled stops unless the message specifies limited bus transportation.
- All BEFORE-SCHOOL ACTIVITIES, athletics and extra-curricular events are canceled.
- Breakfast will not be served when there is a 2-hour late start. Interested scholars may visit the school office for a light snack until lunch, which will be served at the normally scheduled times.
- School will dismiss at the normal time.
- Full-day ECEAP (Sherwood Forest, Brigadoon, Star Lake) will be delayed two hours behind regularly scheduled start time, dismissing at the regular time.
- For AFTER-SCHOOL ACTIVITIES, each individual school will determine if after-school activities, athletics, or extra-curricular activities will be canceled.
When schools begin late, the following classes or programs WILL NOT OPERATE:
- NO Out of District Transportation
- NO Puget Sound Skills Center
- NO Head Start, No part-day ECEAP, No A.M. or P.M. Developmental Preschool
The district may cancel afterschool activities, athletics and extra-curricular events due to inclement weather on 2-hour late start days.
Every effort will be made to announce cancellations prior to the end of the school day, but due to changing weather conditions cancellations may be made at any time.
Limited Bus Transportation
- All or part of some bus routes will operate on a modified route due to road conditions.
- Parents of students with special transportation needs will be informed by the students’ drivers of alternative stop locations.
Limited Bus Transportation routes may be used on the morning and afternoon bus runs.
If the weather and road conditions improve, regular bus stops may be used in the afternoon.
Families will be notified of the change prior to dismissal time.
Notifying Families of School Closure or Delay
Families and staff receive messages about school closures and delays by:
* Voice call, email alert and/or push notification to FWPS Mobile App subscribers
Call 253-945-2000 for a recorded message.
The most current information about school operations is on the FWPS website.
Some radio and TV stations broadcast information regarding the operation of school during emergency conditions, including inclement weather.
Families and community can subscribe to get email notifications at the same time as TV and radio stations do, by signing up at FlashAlert Newswire.
Tips for Families
Remember, some areas of the district experience more severe weather and driving conditions than others.
School closures and schedule changes are districtwide, even if your neighborhood is not severely impacted.
Changes to school operations apply for that day only.
If no announcement is made by FWPS during inclement weather, schools and buses are operating normally.
If conditions change rapidly or unexpectedly, we may need to make a quick decision to cancel school or send students home early.
Continue to look for updated announcements throughout the day.
The district may also cancel after school activities, athletics and extra-curricular events due to inclement weather on 2-hour late start days.
Be sure your student is dressed in warm clothing, with gloves, hats, and boots.
- All schools will be closed for that day only.
- There will be no “out-of-district” transportation. Students attending “out-of-district” classes will not receive transportation, even if the hosting district is in session.
- All scheduled afterschool and evening activities, athletics and extra-curricular events are are cancelled. This includes all practices, mandatory or volunteer, any contests, games, matches, meets, events, facility rentals, etc.
The Educational Services Center (district office) will be open, unless otherwise announced.
Deciding to Delay or Cancel School
In spite of Doppler radar and other advances in weather prediction, it is difficult to be sure about how inclement weather will impact road conditions in the thirty-five square miles the District encompasses.
When snow or inclement weather is in the forecast, we have a plan in place to assess and monitor actual weather and road conditions overnight and in the early morning hours.
- The District night security officer checks road conditions and monitors the weather overnight.
- Transportation staff drive the roads beginning 3:30 a.m. to assess driving conditions.
- Maintenance staff check for possible utility failure that may impact a school or neighborhood.
- The Superintendent makes all decisions to change school operating schedules based on the weather, road and driving conditions.
As a parent, you may decide to keep your child or children at home if you feel it’s not safe to make the trip to school. You are in the best position to decide about your local conditions and your child’s judgment and driving capabilities.
While we go to extensive measures to determine if roads district-wide are safe for travel, it’s physically impossible for us to be on every street corner and side street at all times. We rely on you to be the final judge when it comes to the safety of your child.