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Winter Weather

Weather, Power Outage, and School Closure Information


snowy bikes From time to time, weather or power outages may change the normal school schedule school.

Delay or Closure Decisions: When determining if school schedule changes are necessary Port Townsend Public Schools officials carefully monitor weather forecasts and work with the Transportation department to monitor road conditions.
  • Weather information is reviewed the day and evening prior to a decision. The superintendent reviews the current weather and expected weather conditions, consults with the Co-Op Transportation Director and neighboring district(s).
  • Starting at 4:30 a.m. or sooner, district officials drive routes and further review conditions in the school district.
  • The district may choose to operate on a normal schedule, start two (2) hours late with buses on snow routes, or close entirely.
  • Late starts allow us:
    • Time to monitor and adjust decisions to changing weather and road conditions;
    • Time to clear sidewalks and apply de-ice;
    • Safety of daylight for students and Transportation personnel;
    • Additional time for staff to arrive to work; and
    • Time for the Transportation Department to further critique snow routes and make necessary adjustments or modifications.
    • 2-Hour Late Start Times
      • Salish Coast Elementary - 10:15 a.m.
      • Blue Heron Middle School/OCEAN - 10:25 a.m.
      • Port Townsend High School - 10:25 a.m.
  • When school is closed, principals of each building will make the decisions to cancel or not any scheduled events for after school and evening, and the decision will be communicated to families through the methods listed below.

Staying Informed

If conditions make a schedule change necessary, the district will communicate the decision through the following methods:
  • Seattle media: Checking the Seattle television or radio stations is an effective and efficient way to find out if there is a schedule change. KIRO 7, KOMO 4, KING 5 and FOX 13
  • Facebook: Social media is a fast way to learn about a delay or closure. Follow us on Facebook.
  • District and school websites: In event of a schedule change an alert banner will be on all district and school websites.
  • Automated Phone calls, emails and text messages: Families will receive a phone call, email, text message and mobile app notification.
  • District Emergency Information Hotline: Dial 360-379-4500 and enter extension 4587, closure information will be there.
  • Snow and Emergency Bus Routes: For questions regarding your child’s emergency bus route, contact the Transportation Department at 360-302-5811

Managing Phone Calls and Communications Preferences

It is important to keep up-to-date contact information on record with your student's school.
When there is an emergency school schedule change, the phone number listed as an emergency contact is called. While you need at least one emergency phone on record, you can manage your communication preferences and designate which phone is called.
Directions on how to manage your preferences, can be found on our Communications webpage.

School Year Calendar Dates

We schedule snow make-up days into the calendar to ensure students have 180 contact days in school. Please be aware of these dates when making vacation and family plans.
View the School Year Calendar including snow make-up dates.

Weather Impacts on Transportation and School Schedules

Weather conditions may require the district to put buses on snow routes. Snow routes ensure the school buses can operate safely on rural road in winter conditions, some stop locations and times differs from normal bus assignment. Snow routes are customized each year and posted on the Transportation page. If families need more information about snow routes, they can call the Transportation department, 360-302-5812.

Early Dismissal

Students will be delivered to their regular bus stops. The district will notify parents/guardians of early release using automated calls to the emergency phone number provided to the school. There will be no after-school activities or meetings. Check with the school about any out of district transportation for athletics or other activities.

School Canceled

  • Students should not report to school
  • No preschool

School 2-Hour Delay with Transportation

Buses will be on a two hour delayed snow routes and schools will begin two hours late. There will be no morning preschool. Routes can be found on the Transportation page.

Child Care Providers

For questions regarding child care, please check directly with your provider regarding their services. Generally the YMCA After the Bell is closed when the schools close for weather or power outages. Please contact them directly for more information jcfrontdesk@olympicpeninsulaymca.org or 360-385-5811.

Preparing for Inclement Weather

Jefferson County is unique in that snow may accumulate in one area and not in other areas. Circumstances across the entire district are carefully considered when deciding impact on school operations. Weather forecasts and conditions change, and the district must make a decision that applies to all schools. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we evaluate all these factors.

Each family should have an inclement weather plan that can be put into action on short notice. Identify an alternate place for your child to stay if you must be at work on a day when school has been delayed or canceled. Please ensure that a neighbor, family member or center is able to care for or receive students.

Please remember that weather conditions may vary from area to area within the district. This may warrant a closure or late start for the entire district due to conditions impacting only limited areas. Student and employee safety is our highest priority

Winter Safety Tips for Students Walking to School or Bus Stop

Students should allow extra time to get to their school or bus stop in the morning. Arrival at the bus stop five (5) minutes before the scheduled pickup time is recommended.
Bright clothing will make students more visible for bus drivers and other motorists, especially in the early morning and late evening. Warm clothing is also recommended as transportation delays may occur.

Please walk with young children to their school or bus stop; older children should walk in groups. The location of a student's bus stop may be different from their normal stop location if the district is operating on snow routes.
  • Pedestrian travel should be done on sidewalks or a safe walking path.
  • When there is no sidewalk and you have to walk on the road, be sure to walk facing traffic.
  • Walk across a street at corners, using crosswalks whenever possible.
  • When crossing a street, look left, right and left.
  • Listen for the sound of car motors, sirens, horns or emergency announcements before stepping into the street.