We frequently get questions at the District about how weather closures are decided - basically, how are snow days decided.

There is a policy and administrative regulations in place which outline weather closures. These are:

Below you can find a quick overview of the process and how decisions are made.


Student safety is our priority
The main goal of any closure or delay, be it for weather or a mechanical issue, is to ensure the safety of students. With respect to weather, the District recognizes that it cannot account for every conceivable circumstance and that families are in the best position to judge whether a student can travel safely to and from school and bus stops.

The Decision Makers
Authority to close schools and/or school zones due to weather is delegated to the authorized zone administrator - which is usually a principal or assistant principal. Where a school system (that is schools in close proximity) is impacted, the authorized zone administrator is advised to consult with the other school administrations. In the St. John's Metro Region, delays or closures are managed by the District Headquarters, given the density of schools in the area.

The Timeframe
Closure or delay decisions are generally announced between 6:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. Communication will be made through local media - generally radio - as well as through Status Central on the main page of the District's website (www.nlesd.ca). Many schools also use Synervoice technology and Twitter.

Notices of closure will normally indicate that there will be a further update later in the morning, generally around 10:30 a.m. or 11:00 a.m. Delays should be communicated for a specific number of hours - for example, one or two hours. If a morning delay is longer than one hour, scheduled Kinderstart sessions for that morning will be cancelled.

Typically, closures for the entire day are only announced in the circumstance of a major weather event.

Schools may not necessarily close early because the weather is deteriorating while school is in session. It may be prudent and safer for students to remain in school during the peak of a storm.


The Information Used
Weather criteria taken into consideration when deciding a delay or closure include: snowfall; wind; visibility, temperature; and, road conditions.

Authorized zone administrators are provided weather forecasts from a contracted weather service and they can also consult with their student transportation staff or contractor, local municipalities or the Department of Transportation and Works.

The weather policy provides wind chill temperature thresholds at which schools will close. These are:

GradeTemperature
K - 3-45°C
K - 7-50°C
K - Level III-55°C

As you can see, the decision to delay a school opening or close the school is supported by a variety of information and a procedure is in place to help with decision making.

Occasionally, as with anyone making decisions dependent upon weather and a forecast, things can change quickly and the District attempts to make prudent decisions in the best interest of student and staff safety.

Should you have any further questions on the weather closure policy please do not hesitate to contact your respective regional office. Contact information can be found here.


Weather Safety Reminders
As we all know, Newfoundland and Labrador weather is highly unpredictable and can cause challenges for families and schools. Below are some safety reminders to help everyone be prepared for our weather. As stated above, families are in the best position to judge weather, road, and safety conditions for their children.
  • All students should be appropriately dressed for the season, particularly winter weather and changing conditions.
  • Families should have alternate/back-up arrangements in place should an issue occur with student transportation, such as a delay caused by poor weather or road conditions.
  • Kindergarten students must have an adult present for after school drop off by the school bus.
  • Further winter safety tips can be found here.
Additionally, school bus safety tips can be found here.

95 Elizabeth Avenue
St. John's, NL · A1B 1R6
Tel: (709) 758-2372 · Fax: (709) 758-2706
95 Elizabeth Avenue
St. John's, NL · Canada · A1B 1R6
Tel: (709) 758-2372 · Fax: (709) 758-2706

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