School Closure Information
School Closure Overview
Schools may be closed in Blaine County School District due to severe weather, local emergencies (fire, flood, etc.), or school plant failures which make the building uninhabitable. The most common reason is severe winter weather. School may be closed prior to the start of the school day, delayed start by two hours, or dismissed early after the school day is in progress.
Why Does the District Delay or Close School?
Delay of school or school closure is determined by conditions that make it unsafe for students to travel to school, be in the school building, or the high probability that the conditions will continue to deteriorate throughout the day creating unsafe conditions for students to travel home at the end of the day. Safety considerations for students traveling to school include wind chill factors that put students at risk while waiting for the bus or walking to school as well as road conditions that put transportation means at great risk. Procedures for delayed start or closure of school before the day has begun may be found in the Board’s Policy Manual posted as Procedures 400, 423, 500, 702, 900: Weather Related Emergency Delayed Start or Closure of School Notification.
How cold does it have to be before we close school?
If the temperature is between 15-20 degrees below zero, the district will consider delaying and or canceling school. Please keep in mind that temperatures vary throughout Blaine County and that there are many factors to consider when making the decision to delay or cancel school.
What time will parents be notified of either a delay or a close of school?
The Superintendent will make a decision by 6:00 a.m. the day of the school closure. Do not expect a decision to be made the night before. Road conditions change and the goal is always to hold school if at all possible. After consulting with county road officials, administrators who are checking road conditions, and Buildings and Grounds regarding the condition of the schools, the Superintendent makes a decision to either delay or close school.
If school is delayed by two hours, and then it is decided to close school, an announcement will be made by 7:45 a.m.
Parents are encouraged to have a backup plan for childcare in the event that school is delayed or closed and the parent needs to work.
How will parents be notified of a school closure?
In the event that school needs to be delayed or canceled we will:
- Send a Skylert to all parents and staff. Skylert can be received via email, text, phone or all three. See below.
- Send a press release to KECH/KSKI radio, Idaho Mt. Express, Weekly Sun, Eye on Sun Valley and KMVT.
- Post information on our website home page and pop-up message.
- Post on Facebook.
Early Dismissal of School:
Closing school early is an option of last resort as it is critical that students be safe upon dismissal. Ensuring an adult is at home to receive students off the bus or an adult comes to school to escort students that walk home is difficult, but necessary in order to provide for student safety. In the case of school plant failures which make the building uninhabitable, students will be relocated to their school emergency relocation site if need be while parents are contacted. Procedures for early dismissal may be found in in the Board’s Policy Manual posted as Procedures 400, 423, 500, 702, 900: Dismissal from School.
What is Skylert?
Skylert is the notification system through Skyward. It can be sent via email, text, phone call, or all three. Parents have complete control over what phone or email they want as a contact. It is important to update your contact information in Skyward to make sure it's accurate. If you need help doing this, please contact your school secretary. Please note that we will only notify parents and staff if and when we have a delay or closure.
How is the decision made to delay or cancel school in the event of weather?
When there is a chance of snow, the Superintendent, Director of Buildings and Grounds and Supervisor of Transportation begin driving roads between 3:00-4:30 a.m. They drive from Carey to north of Ketchum. They look at weather data on NOAA. The Director of Buildings and Grounds talks with each of the road crews when necessary (State, County, Ketchum, Hailey, and Bellevue) to get their assessment of the roads. We then make a decision based on all of this information about school. Safety is always our first consideration.
How many "snow days" are built into the calendar?
The state requires a different number of instructional hours for various grade levels. Wood River High School has the tightest schedule with only 10.95 extra hours (lunch and passing periods do not count) in their calendar; those hours and more have been used.
How does the decision impact school funding?
If schools are open and students don’t come, it is a negative impact to the funding received by the State of Idaho.
If schools are closed, attendance is not impacted, which saves the district money.
What if I don’t feel it’s safe to send my child to school?
If you do not feel safe driving, please do not drive. The district provides bus transportation if that is helpful.
The district takes the decision so seriously that the Superintendent and staff members drive the roads before making a decision as a team. Student safety is the goal.
If a parent decides to keep their child home, what is the student attendance policy?
All students are required to be in attendance at school at least ninety (90) percent of the time for each formal grading period. Activity absences, which fall within policy guidelines, will not be counted in the percentage of attendance. Specific building procedures are outlined in the respective procedures and student handbooks.