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UPSD Winter Weather Procedures

Posted Date: 10/27/23 (2:00 PM)

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Dear UPSD Parents and Guardians:

This week’s forecast calls for snow in the mountains and colder (possibly freezing) temperatures in the lowlands. Now is a good time to begin preparing for potential school closures or delays caused by snow and ice.  Please review this information carefully as we’ve made some changes this year.  Let us know if you have any questions or need help.

How and when are decisions made to delay or cancel school?  When snow or ice are predicted, we drive the roads in U.P. before 4:30 a.m. to check on local conditions. We also monitor regional conditions because many staff members live outside U.P. and commute in.  Safety for school buses, student drivers, parents, and staff is our primary concern. We try to make a decision by 5:15 a.m.  On rare occasions, if we know morning conditions will be unsafe, we will make a decision and notify parents the night before.  On mornings when the weather is changing, we may need to delay school first (before 5:15 AM) and then make a final decision for the day before 8 AM.
 
How are parents notified when school is delayed or canceled? Parents will be notified using our new ParentSquare system. Make sure you’ve downloaded the ParentSquare app. This will allow you to get messages in multiple ways including text messages.  We will no longer use recorded phone calls for school closures and delays.  Instead, all parents will receive a text message and an email unless the School Alert option in ParentSquare has been intentionally disabled.  A test notification will be sent using this system next week.  (Note:  Parents may also use the Flash Alert system.  This is a third-party tool that provides phone and email alerts for our district and others)

What options will the district consider when weather conditions are severe?
  • Two-Hour Late Starts give everyone more time to get to school.  Late starts also give us time to prepare grounds and facilities (i.e., deicing, clearing sidewalks, etc.).  Visibility often improves later in the morning, as well.  On Wednesday “late start” days, weather-related delays will be one hour from the scheduled start time for students. There is no preschool when schools are delayed.
  • School Closure is necessary when the forecast and conditions at 5:00 a.m. indicate that conditions won’t improve fast enough to get everyone safely to campus.  If we cancel a full day of school, we will make up the day later in the year.
  • Closing School After it Starts.  We never want to send kids home early once they are at school. This type of closure is very unlikely and would only be made in extreme circumstances.  Advance notice will always be given with additional instructions for parents and students.  
Will bus routes change when there are snow delays?   Most of the time bus routes will not change.  In very rare circumstances, emergency routes may be necessary.  Emergency routes run only on main streets and use fewer stops.  Emergency route information will be provided via email and our website, as needed. 

What about after-school activities and events?  When school is closed, all after-school and evening activities will be canceled.  When school is delayed, we will make a decision about after-school activities before 1 p.m. once we know more about the forecast and road conditions.  Parents will receive additional notification during the day about these activities.

We appreciate your preparation, understanding, patience, and support this winter.  Please be safe and keep warm this winter and don’t hesitate to contact me directly at jchamberlin@upsd83.org with questions, concerns or suggestions. 

Best regards, 

Jeff Chamberlin
Superintendent