Winter 2021: planning for winter weather and our schools

A Message from the Department of Communications and Community Relations 

Dear Families,

With the change of seasons and a chance of snow in the forecast for next week, we wanted to remind of you of our winter weather procedures. This message is most pertinent to students who are receiving in-person instruction. If you are attending classes remotely, it’s unlikely that your learning schedule will be impacted by weather.

New this year: we are adding a new option to close in-person instruction and schools and hold all classes remotely. This option has some benefits, including less disruption to teaching and learning and fewer make-up days in June.

This message will help you:

  • update your contact information,
  • 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,
  • close in-person instruction with all classes being held remote (K-2 would follow their remote schedule, watch for Zoom link from teacher),
  • open two hours late with regular bus routes or snow bus routes,
  • open on time with snow bus routes.

Please familiarize yourself with our weather procedures here. Students and staff should be bringing technology and any other needed materials home each night, and it’s especially important if snow is in the forecast.

 

How can I get weather/emergency information? 

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

  • Alerts: To receive email and/or text alerts, set your communication preferences on the Skylert tab within Skyward Family Access. (Need help? Go here for step-by-step directions or call 360-676-6520.)
  • Tune in to local media: 790 AM, 96.5  FM, 104.1  FM or Seattle media.
  • Check bellinghamschools.org
  • Check @BhamSD on Twitter or @bellinghamschools on Facebook
  • Call 360-676-6400 for a recorded message.
  • Call 360-647-6815 for a message translated in Español, русский, tính từ and Punjabi.

 

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

If your child rides the bus to school, please check Infofinder to find out your family’s snow bus route. If you’ve never looked up your snow route before, this webpage may help. Students who receive specialized transportation do not follow these snow routes but use prearranged bus schedules as determined with individual families. There is no daytime out-of-district transportation when we are on snow routes.

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.  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 winter!