Inclement Weather Procedures
The safety and well-being of students and staff is our top priority and the decision to close, delay or release school is no simple matter. Before deciding to modify the school day due to extreme weather conditions, the Superintendent consults with a variety of experts both inside and outside of the District. Our commitment is to keep students, families and staff safe, as well as keep the community informed of weather-related school closings, delays and cancellations.
The District must make one decision that is appropriate for more than 4,600 students. We recognize that this decision may not always fit with individual circumstances. Therefore, we support parents/guardians making the best decision for their family. Parents/guardians may choose to keep their children at home if they are concerned about their child’s safety due to weather conditions. In this event, they must notify the school and the absence will be recorded as excused.
Please note that we continually monitor the forecast from the National Weather Service (NWS) in order to make the best decision for students, staff and families in a timely manner. The District utilizes information from the NWS and local emergency management.
Announcements of District weather-related decisions are communicated through local media outlets (television and radio) and multiple District communication platforms. Notification will be sent directly to families by phone and/or text through the District’s Remind notification system and posted on the district website, www.ottumwaschools.com. To receive notifications through the District’s system, please ensure your contact information (email and phone) is accurate.
High school activity and athletic event decisions are communicated by the building administrator/designee. Community members can also receive notifications via the district app, available through the user’s smartphone.
Cold Weather Delay/Closing Guidelines
If the National Weather Service issues a wind chill ADVISORY that would be in effect at the start of the school day, there may be a 2-hour delay. The time the advisory is issued may affect the decision to delay school. The closer the advisory is made to the start of the school day's operations, the district will consider other factors in making the decision. The start of the operational school day is 6 a.m.
If the National Weather Service issues a wind chill WARNING in effect at the start of the operational school day, there may be a 2-hour delay. However, if the wind chill warning will not be lifted by 10:30 a.m., there will be no school that day. The time the warning is issued may affect the decision to delay school. The closer the warning is made to the start of the operational school day, the district will consider other factors in making the decision.
The protocol for wind chill advisory and warning is intended to provide a guideline, but it does not replace the responsibility of the district to make the best decision for the most students and families.
As is our practice, when school is canceled, all activities, events, and practices are generally cancelled unless otherwise noted (please check www.ottumwaschools.com for the most current information).
Closing due to snow or hazardous driving conditions.
School will be cancelled if heavy snow and/or icy conditions make it exceedingly hazardous or impossible for school buses to travel their routes and/or for employees and students to report to school safely. We try to make our decision by 5:30 a.m. the morning of a cancellation and notification made by 6 a.m.
Prime Time Youth Care will be open at the normal time at Liberty only and WRAP is closed on snow days.
Delaying the start of school due to weather conditions that are expected to improve throughout the school day.
When a late start is deemed necessary, late start times may vary depending on the weather conditions. In the event of a late start on a regularly scheduled early dismissal day (Friday), the early dismissal will be cancelled and school will follow the regular dismissal time.
All morning activities and events before school on late start days are cancelled. Prime Time Youth Care opens at the normal time and WRAP opens at 8 a.m.
Releasing school early due to weather conditions that are expected to worsen throughout the school day.
When an early dismissal is deemed necessary:
Early dismissal times may vary depending on the weather conditions.
Children normally transported on buses will be returned by bus according to the early dismissal schedule unless other arrangements have been previously made and communicated to the child’s school.
When school is dismissed, all student practices and activities will be canceled for the day and postponed to another date if possible. (please check www.ottumwaschools.com or your child’s school website for the most current information).
Same Day and Potentially Next Day Activity Cancellations
At times it is necessary to cancel after-school activities due to weather conditions that are expected to worsen throughout the day. In these cases, school is in session as normal with weather expected to worsen during the after school hours. Decisions to cancel activities will be made as soon as possible on the day of the cancellation or on the day preceding the cancellation, including weekend activities.
Cancellations include (but not limited to):
District-sponsored extracurricular activities (elementary, middle school, and high school)
School events (elementary, middle school, and high school)
Meetings and activities in a school building or district facility hosted by an outside organization that involved student participation.