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Preparing for Winter Weather: School Closure Procedures Update

Dec. 4, 2020 – As we prepare for the winter season, we want to remind you of Special School District’s procedures for inclement weather and school closures. Predicting weather and road conditions is a challenge. However, SSD has a team of District personnel who review information from emergency management, meteorologists, and state highway officials to track the progress of winter weather and its impact on our roadways and schools.

When will we know if school is closed?

Since inclement weather can affect school schedules for families, students, and staff, the District tries to make the decision about school closures as early as we can. When possible, the decision to cancel school is made the night before; however, inclement weather is often unpredictable, and a decision may be made in the morning. The District will attempt to reach a decision regarding closing school by 5:00 – 5:30 AM. However, many times the weather conditions change rapidly in the early morning hours and that could cause a decision to be made later.

Will snow days have to be made up or will virtual learning occur?

In the past, when the inclement weather made it unsafe to hold school, the District canceled school for a snow day. However, the DESE recently approved the option of an AMI (Alternative Methods of Instruction) virtual learning day in lieu of a snow day school cancellation.

This year, SSD will utilize up to four traditional snow days, which will not have to be made up because the time is already built into the calendar. If we have to cancel school for more than four days due to weather, starting on the fifth snow day, the District will implement AMI virtual learning. On an AMI virtual learning day, families will receive communication from the District, as well as specific instructions from the child’s teacher about the classwork/projects/activities that will need to be completed on that day. Implementing AMI virtual learning days gives us the opportunity to continue learning on inclement weather days. This will prevent, as much as possible, additional school days being added to the end of the school year.

How will we be notified of school closures?

In the event of a school cancellation or a virtual learning day due to inclement weather, the District will use all available media to communicate effectively: 

  • SchoolMessenger – A recorded phone message, an email, and text message will be sent to all employees and families in SSD schools
    • Please ensure your contact information is up to date.
  • Local Media – Check television and  radio stations (KTVI - TV Channel 2, KMOV - TV Channel 4, KSDK - TV Channel 5 and KMOX Radio - 1120 AM)
  • Websites - The District website and all school websites will be updated with a pop-up alert with emergency school closing information
  • Social Media – The announcement will be posted on the SSD Facebook page and via Twitter
  • SSD Information Line - An update will be available via the District information line at 314-989-8450 

The decision to close school is always a difficult one, but the safety of our students and staff is our number one priority when making such decisions. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding every day of the year, and especially so during times when we are experiencing weather that can be dangerous for our students and staff.