west ada school district inclement weather information and guidance

Inclement Weather and School Closures

During the winter months and related events, the West Ada School District strategically plans for adverse weather conditions that might lead to school closures.

Recognizing the significance of education and the potential impact of missed school days on learning, West Ada School District places the safety of all students, including those who commute by bus, walk, or bike, as a top priority. If students are unable to safely reach school or if operating conditions are compromised due to hazardous citywide weather, the district may decide to cancel school.

During periods of inclement or extreme weather, our dedicated team begins their day bright and early, typically around 3:00 A.M., closely monitoring temperatures and road conditions.  Our dedicated team members from various departments across West Ada embark on a comprehensive assessment of road conditions. Covering a vast geographical area from Avimor in Eagle through Star, Kuna, Meridian, and Boise, our "snow patrol" team evaluates whether streets have been plowed and de-iced, providing crucial reports on snowfall and ice conditions.

We collaborate closely with Cascade Student Transportation to determine the availability of bus drivers, considering any weather-related call-outs or difficulties in reaching work. Additionally, we consult with local law enforcement, weather experts, and county/state transportation departments to collectively make an informed decision.

Our aim is to finalize this decision by 5:30 am, as the first buses depart around this time, and families need timely information to arrange childcare or communicate with their workplaces about potential school closures.

In the rare event that the temperature (ambient or windchill) drops below -20°F, the possibility of a "snow day" is considered, although this is not a standard practice and has not occurred in the past.

Acknowledging the complexity of this decision-making process, we strive to do our best with the available information, including weather and road predictions. It is evident that conditions can vary across the district, sometimes differing even from street to street. While one area may face extremely hazardous conditions, others may remain safe. Parents who perceive the journey to school as too risky for their children have the option to keep them at home and notify the school of such. In the event of school cancellation, it applies to the entire district.

Acknowledging that not everyone may share the same viewpoint on school cancellations, the district understands that making such determinations is a complex task. Every effort is made to thoughtfully consider all relevant factors.  We appreciate your understanding and thank you for recognizing the criteria and efforts involved in reaching a final decision.

In the event of a school closure due to poor road conditions and/or inclement weather, information will be promptly communicated through the district website, official social media channels and local media will be notified as well (see below).  All efforts will be made to determine school closure due to winter driving conditions by 5:30am on the day of the closure in order to have adequate time to alert parents, students, staff and the community of the school closure. 

To ensure that you stay informed about any potential school closures, delays, or other weather-related updates, we kindly request you to review and update your contact information in our student information system - PowerSchool. 

We will communicate any changes through our automated phone messages and official channels, including: 

Local media:

  • Television: Channel 2, KBCI; Channel 6, KIVI; Channel 7, KTVB

  • AM Radio Stations: KBOI, 670; KIDO, 630; KGEM, 1140 

  • FM Radio Stations: KJOT, 105; K-106, 106; K-LITE, 104; KHEZ, 103.3; KIZN, 93.1; KBSU, 90.3 

Parents of Bus Riders

While we strive for timeliness, busses do inevitably get caught in winter weather traffic. Please prepare your student(s) for the possibility of busses being 10-15 minutes late. Please make sure your student(s) is dressed appropriately. Here are some tips to better prepare.

Cold Weather Bus Stop Tips:

  • As always, have students wear bright colors.

  • Be cautious of anything dangling off clothing or backpacks as it can get caught on bus doors.

  • Have student(s) wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing.

  • Be sure hats and/or hoods do not obstruct the student(s) ability to hear and see traffic.

  • Cover student(s) mouth to protect his/her lungs from extreme cold.

  • Have student(s) wear shoes with good traction.

  • Use the restroom before getting on the bus!

  • Plan ahead for any medical needs your student may have on the bus.

Winter Weather Recess and School Arrival/Dismissal Times:

If temperatures fall below 20 degrees, students are held indoors instead of being allowed out for recess. Additionally, buildings adhere to early opening times as outlined in the student handbooks:

  • Elementary School: 8:45 am - 4:15 pm
  • Middle School: 8:00 am - 3:30 pm
  • High School: 7:00 am - 4:00 pm

Idaho Code

Idaho Code 33-512 grants the District Board of Trustees the authority to reduce the required annual instructional hours by up to a total of eleven (11) hours for emergency school closures due to adverse weather conditions and facility failures. If the closures exceed the allocated eleven (11) hours or in cases of multiple days of emergency closures, the Board of Trustees empowers the Superintendent to transition a school(s) to remote instruction.

In situations where emergency closures surpass the hours that can be compensated through remote instruction, the Board of Trustees may adjust the school year calendar to fulfill Idaho Code 33-512 requirements for instructional hours.

Idaho law provides the flexibility for emergency closures without incurring financial penalties. This legal provision recognizes the need for school districts to prioritize the safety and well-being of students and staff during unforeseen circumstances such as adverse weather conditions or other emergencies. The ability to make decisions without financial repercussions allows districts to focus on ensuring a secure environment without compromising fiscal responsibilities. This provision empowers school authorities to take necessary actions in the best interest of the community without the burden of financial constraints during emergency situations.

Board Policy

601.20 - Adverse Conditions and Emergency Closures

601.20-AR(1) - Adverse Conditions and Emergency Closures

Mass Communications

If you or someone in your family does not receive mass notifications from West Ada School District and would like to receive communications from West Ada School District, please follow these steps: 

  1. Take a moment to ensure that information entered in PowerSchool is updated and accurate.

  2. Ensure that the family member is listed in PowerSchool. 

  3. Account holders (parents/guardians) must update and enter information in PowerSchool for family members, including the cell phone number and email address. School sites and school personnel are NOT permitted to update family information in PowerSchool.  

    • Important Notes:

      • Mass communications from WASD are ONLY sent to family members listed as Contact 1 and Contact 2 in PowerSchool. Additional members listed in PowerSchool will not receive mass notifications from WASD. 

      • Upon adding or updating information in PowerSchool, changes should be accepted and reflected in our system within 24-48 hours to receive mass notifications. 

If your or your family member's information is updated and accurate in PowerSchool, but you are not receiving text messages, you may have OPTED OUT of West Ada School District communications. To OPT IN, please text "start" to 98900 to resume receiving text message communications from West Ada School District. 

  • Please note that in some cases, cell phone carriers may block mass text messages and mark them as spam or junk. If you have opted in to receiving text messages from WASD and are still not receiving them:

    1. Please check your phone's spam/junk folder and unmark the message as spam.

    2. In some cases, you may need to contact your cell phone carrier to ensure that mass notifications are permitted on your plan and device.