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Closures FAQ

With the winter months comes the possibility of school closures and schedule changes. The decision to change school schedules because of adverse conditions is based on many factors outlined on the previous page. If you still have questions, here are answers to some of those most commonly asked about emergency school closures:

When are decisions made about school closures, and how will I know?

The district makes every effort to decide and announce decisions to close schools before 6 a.m. The planning and review process actually begins the night before. Once a decision is made, a message will be posted on our Twitter and Facebook pages, posted on our website, and sent to Jeffco families via email, text, and phone using SchoolMessenger. Local media will also be notified.

What factors go in to the decision?

Weather and road conditions are checked throughout Jefferson County beginning the night before. Using a variety of resources, the school district gathers as much information as possible before making a decision. District officials monitor ongoing weather reports, including those from a private weather forecasting service, and road conditions from the Colorado Department of Transportation, and local and state law enforcement agencies. “Weather spotters,” such as school bus drivers and transportation personnel who are arriving at area bus terminals, and maintenance crew members who are assigned to plow school parking lots and sidewalks are consulted. District transportation officials will provide a recommendation before 5 a.m. to the district administrator responsible for making the final decision after a thorough review of all available data collected. If classes are to be canceled, the district’s Communication Services staff will notify as described in question one above as soon as possible.

Other school districts have delayed start, but Jeffco rarely does this. Why?

As mentioned on the previous page, we consider the impact of a closure or delayed start on families who are counting on us to be open on time because they do not have access to other childcare and cannot afford to take a day off at a moment's notice. We also provide meals for hundreds of families who count on the food we provide for breakfast and lunch every day.

For these reasons, if we determine a full closure is not necessary, then we begin our school day on time. We will always do whatever we can to have schools open on time every day.

Is there a set temperature that would cause the district to close schools?

No. There is no set temperature that would cause the district to close schools, but temperature is one of many factors taken into consideration when making a school closure decision. Extreme temperatures may cause schools to limit recess, off-campus lunch hours for high schools, and/or extracurricular activities.

Sometimes schools have power outages or other emergencies such as broken pipes. When this happens, what is the procedure at Jeffco Public Schools?

District personnel make every effort to protect students, provide for their comfort and ensure their safety. Sometimes power outages cause classrooms to get cold, but the district does not want to send students home unsupervised or to cold, dark houses. School principals can make the decision to send students home. If this happens, the district uses social media and the email, text, and phone capabilities of SchoolMessenger to notify families and will post notifications on the district and school websites. The news media may also be notified, depending on the situation. Students will not be transported home without parent notification.

If a school day is canceled, will there be a make-up day?

State law requires a specific number of hours of classroom instruction each school year. If a school does not meet this requirement the school year must be extended. Closure make-up days are built into the school calendar.

How can I make sure my student is safe?

The option to keep children home when weather conditions are extreme is always at the parents' discretion.

Students should always be dressed appropriately for whatever weather conditions exist. No one can predict when a fire alarm might go off or when buildings might have to be evacuated due to an emergency.

Parents are urged to make arrangements at the beginning of each school year for their children in case of school closures and plan for the rare situation when it is necessary to close an individual school because of a power failure or another circumstance. Children should know where to go if a parent will not be home and how to contact parents and guardians.

What about school bus transportation when the weather is bad?

All bus stops will be serviced in inclement weather unless an emergency announcement is made. In inclement weather, buses may run late for a variety of reasons, but usually less than 15 minutes. Prepare your child in suitable clothing to wait additional time at the bus stop. 

Parents should have a contingency plan in the event that a bus is running extremely late or breaks down before reaching the bus stop. Discuss with your child what to do and who to call if the bus does not arrive.

Does the district ever close only some schools, while others remain open?

Yes. The district may close select schools due to unsafe conditions, but leave other schools open not affected by the issue. The Jeffco Public School district covers more than 790 square miles and conditions can vary drastically throughout the county.

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