2022-23: planning for winter weather and our schools

A Message from the Department of Communications and Community Relations

Dear Families,

With the change of seasons, it’s time to plan ahead for winter weather and how it may affect our schools.

This message serves as a reminder to:

  • check that your contact information is accurate in Skyward (check Skyward Family Access or with your school office if you are not sure),
  • find information on weather communications, and
  • find your snow bus route if your child rides the bus.

Depending on conditions (which could include snow, flooding, power outages, etc.), school could:

  • close for the day,
  • open two hours late with regular bus routes or snow bus routes,
  • open on time with snow bus routes.

It is possible that schools could operate on a remote schedule if a prolonged closure is expected.

Please familiarize yourself with our weather procedures here.

How can I get weather/emergency information?

Any changes to the school schedule are usually announced before 6 a.m., and we use a variety of methods to keep families informed:

  • Alerts: To receive email and/or text alerts you need an email address and cell phone number in Skyward. We send updates through our notification tool, ParentSquare, which receives phone and email contact information data from Skyward, our student information system.
  • Tune in to local media: 790 AM, 96.5  FM, 104.1  FM the Bellingham Herald, Cascade Daily News or Seattle media.
  • Check bellinghamschools.org 
  • Check @BhamSD on Twitter, @bellinghamschools on Facebook and @bellinghamschools on Instagram
  • Call 360-676-6400for a recorded message.
  • Call 360-647-6815 for a message translated in Español, русский, tính từ and Punjabi. 

What is a snow bus route and how can I find it?

If your child rides the bus to school, please check bellinghamschools.org/snow-routes to find out your family’s snow bus route. If your students receive specialized transportation and may need to use an alternate inclement weather stop, you will be notified in a separate communication next week.

A snow bus route (or snow route) is a modified bus route that generally runs on main roads rather than side streets or through neighborhoods. If snow routes are in effect, students must catch their bus at alternate stops. We have found that bus ridership is low on snow route days, so our snow bus routes run on main, well-traveled roads to increase the likelihood that we can keep school open (and reduce the need for snow make–up days). 

During a weather event, please review Bellingham Public Schools weather communications carefully to determine if snow bus routes are in effect for the morning only or for the morning and afternoon routes. It is the responsibility of families to know their snow route bus stop and help your children know where to go.

If your child is in grades PreK-5, your Return Home Plan you set in place at the start of the school year also applies for a snow route. Please make arrangements to ensure the safety of your child at snow route stops.

Lastly, we encourage you to be prepared at home. Sites such as takewinterbystorm.org and The Red Cross provide valuable preparedness tips.

Wishing you a safe fall and winter!