Weather Procedures 

If schools are to be closed or activities cancelled or rescheduled due to weather conditions, the information will be posted on the Wichita Public Schools' main page, www.usd259.org
, and displayed on all school websites.
  • Rescheduled athletic events are posted on the Athletics' web page. 
  • Weather-related work policies for district employees can be found here.
  • Transportation procedures during tornado warnings can be found here.
Winter Weather/Snow Day Procedures Severe Weather/Tornado Safe Room Procedures

Winter Weather/Snow Day Procedures:
  • School Closing: If winter weather conditions are of such a nature that the overall safety of students would be greatly jeopardized and the operations of the school district would be significantly impaired, a decision to cancel school will be made by 6:00 a.m. on the morning of a school day.

    If school is cancelled due to weather:
  • An email will be sent to all district staff when a decision is made.
  • ParentLink phone message and email will be sent to all students' and employees' homes.
  • Information will be posted on the district's main page, www.usd259.org and on the district's Facebook and Twitter pages.
  • Information will be broadcast on WPS-TV – Cox Cable Channel 20 and AT&T U-verse Channel 99. 
  • A voice message will be posted on the Wichita Public Schools' Emergency Weather Information Hotline: 973-4259.
  • Local news media will be notified.
           
  • Decisions to close schools are based on a number of variables including actual and projected snowfall, icing and wind-chill factors, ability of the bus fleet to transport students, and assessment of street and road conditions, including snow/ice treatment and removal. Power and heat to buildings is also a factor that is considered.
      
  • Early Dismissal: If a winter weather condition develops while school is in session, early dismissal of school may be required. However, such would only occur under the most extreme conditions. If a decision is made during the school day, the different types of communication listed above would also be used to notify parents and employees.
          
  • Late Buses. During times of severe weather, conditions may be of such a nature that buses may be running late. If such occurs, specific information will be posted on social media and relayed to local news media.
     
  • Emergency Situations. On rare occasions, an emergency situation may arise that could force the closing or early dismissal of one or more schools. If such occurs, specific information will be shared on social media and relayed to local news media. Schools will notify parents/guardians.
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Winter Weather Information for district staff
      
Snow Days Memo from Human Resources for 2013-2014 (PDF).
The following emergency weather procedures are in effect if schools are closed, but administrative offices remain open:
  • Principals and other building administrators will make every effort to be at their school at the time when students normally arrive. The district’s first priority is to provide for the health and safety of students whose parents might not have been alerted that schools are closed and to check building heating or maintenance issues.
       
  • Teachers, paraprofessionals, and benefited school-based food service workers are not expected to report for duty and will later be expected to make up the day when students are present for makeup, if required. All other school-based employees are expected to report for duty. This includes administrators, secretaries, clerks, and custodians.
       
  • All district office employees, including the School Service Center staff, are expected to report for duty and assume normal responsibilities.

Snow Day compared to Major Emergency Work for Employees (Read full details here)

  • Major Emergency Work has to be declared by the Superintendent or his designee and the work required by these weather events is beyond normal maintenance and repair often causing employees to complete tasks outside of their normal scope of duties.  Employees that will be called to do this type of work must have completed the appropriate major emergency work paperwork with the Division Director of Facilities in order to receive the extra pay associated with Major Emergency Work.   

  • Snow Day - When staff is asked to stay home due to weather conditions such as a snow day, we will pay the regular daily rate of pay to certain groups of employees so they are held harmless for the District’s decision to cancel school.  Those groups generally include teachers, benefited paras, non-benefited Nutrition Services and other benefited staff deemed non-essential who would have been instructed to stay home. However, should the superintendent or his designee define your position as essential on a “snow day” you would be required to attend work and not receive any additional pay for doing so.   
  • Classified staff unable to report to work would be given the option to take vacation, personal business, or taking time off unpaid.   

Final determination of who receives pay for a particular “snow day” lies with the Superintendent or his designee.


Employee Policy P4550 - Major Emergency Work
  • Policy Statement - The Superintendent of Schools, or designee, will be responsible for declaring a work situation as a major emergency. A major emergency would normally require a minimum of 20 employees to work the emergency which may be caused by a severe snowstorm, tornado, fire, hail, and/or unusual circumstances. 
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Severe Weather/Tornado Safe Room Procedures
Principals will be notified if weather conditions are expected to turn severe during the school day. Updates will be shared throughout the day, if needed. All schools have weather radios to notify them of thunderstorm and tornado warnings.

If a tornado warning is issued during the school day:

  • Students will immediately go to the school’s safe room or safe area and remain there until an all-clear is given by district staff. For schools that have safe rooms, once the safe room is secure and doors are closed, the safe rooms are only opened after the “All Clear” is given from District wide Administration.  Secondary shelters are designated at each site for individuals that arrive on site after the safe room door is shut and secure. Parents are asked to seek shelter where they are located and not come to the school. When students are in the safe room, they will not be released to parents until the all-clear is given.

  • Schools’ safe rooms are built for occupancy of every student, staff member and volunteer in the building. Safe rooms are not designed to also accommodate surrounding community members.
  • Even if the severe weather event is not located in the area of town where a school is located, all Wichita Public Schools will follow the tornado warning and will remain in shelters until the all-clear is given.

  • Click here for more information about Safe Room Storm Shelters

Transportation procedures during tornado warnings:
  • When a tornado warning or other severe weather warning that impacts transportation is issued for Sedgwick County, the Wichita Public Schools’ bus contractor, First Student, will immediately advise all bus drivers to cease with their bus runs and proceed to the nearest district school for shelter. Buses will proceed to the nearest secondary school in the morning and elementary school in the afternoon for shelter. Other non-school district locations may be used as appropriate.
  • Communication through ParentLink and/or the district’s Web siteFacebook and Twitter will be used if the severe storm warning occurs during dismissal to advise parents/guardians of the effect on student transportation services.
Parent Communications during severe weather
  • When a tornado warning is issued, staff is working quickly to ensure that students and staff are in their building’s safe area.

  • Communication through ParentLink and/or the district’s Web siteFacebook and Twitter will be used when the tornado warning occurs and when the all-clear is given.

  • Local news media will be notified.

Emergency Situations On rare occasions, an emergency situation may arise that could force the closing or early dismissal of one or more schools. If such occurs, specific information will be shared through ParentLink, social media and relayed to local news media. Schools will notify parents/guardians.

Lightning procedures
If there are no weather warnings issued, but lightning in the area, principals, athletic directors and sponsors will monitor and make decisions regarding weather-related postponements or cancellations for outdoor practices and activities. Schools will follow the Kansas State High School Activities Association Guidelines for Lightning Safety.

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To view The National Weather Service web site, click here.
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