Inclement Weather Policy

Welcome to the Inclement Weather Information Center for the Philadelphia School District

The cold weather season is upon us, and when the forecast turns snowy, we understand that you want to know as soon as possible how your child’s school will be impacted. Our goal is to lay out our process and answer some of your most frequently asked questions here, so you can be more informed on the how, what, when and why of our inclement weather decisions.

Frequently requested links during inclement weather:

How do we decide whether to close schools (or delay opening, or dismiss early), due to snow?

Closing school is not something we do lightly. Ultimately safety comes first: students’ safety, our teachers and staff, our emergency weather & facilities staff, the buses and drivers and other city dwellers’ safety.

And we try to make the decision as early as possible. But, weather is unpredictable – sometimes we need to monitor weather conditions longer, to make the best possible decision.

Our FAQs below answer some additional questions:

When we hear a forecast for inclement weather, we meet with the local office of the National Weather Service, as well as different city agencies including the Office of Emergency Management, the Police and Fire Departments, and SEPTA (the Archdiosese and Charter Schools make their own decisions so if your student attend a Catholic or Charter, be sure to check with their office on inclement weather closings!).

And we review the impact of the forecast on the ability of our students and staff to safely get to or from school based on issues like:

-the timing and severity of the predicted weather: Is it happening before, or during school?
-how will it relate to bad driving conditions and rush hour
-the Philadelphia Streets Department’s ability to get streets cleared
-SEPTA’s ability to maintain bus and train operations and,
-what it will require from our own facilities personnel and school custodians, who get up early or work late, leaving their own families to clear a safe path to and from your school.

So based on all that, you might think the easiest thing to do is to just call a day off, the minute the news says snow. But, we also want to be careful with how many days we take off – we’ve built a few snow days into the calendar, but if we aren’t careful with them, we then have to take those days back by losing some spring break or extending the school year.

Be assured, we try to base our decision on the best information possible. But as you all know, predicting the weather is not a perfect science. And at the end of the day, you have to decide what you feel is safest so if you choose not to send your child to school based on weather, you must just remember to send in a note the day he or she returns, explaining your student’s absence(s).

We try to make it as early as possible; ideally the evening before the predicted snow. If it’s a tough call, we do everything we can to make the decision by 5am the morning of the event.

In the case of emergency for a weather-related closing, delay, or early dismissal, the PSD website will automatically include an alert at the top of each page with the appropriate information (see sample alert below).

We will also broadcast it on our social media so be sure you access our Facebook or Twitter feed.

These are the only places we can assure you’re getting the correct information. Even the news channels have been known to get it wrong, so if you want to be sure, visit, or check our Facebook page (link) or sign up for our Twitter account.

*If your student attends a Charter School, CHECK WITH YOUR SCHOOL for accurate information on any school opening or closing changes.

School will start exactly 2 hours after it would normally start. So if your school starts at 8:29am, on a 2-hour delay, school will start at 10:29am. Your child should expect their bus, if they take one, to come exactly 2 hours after normal pickup time.

Yes. All after-care, activities, sports, and evening programs are cancelled if school is closed or closed early due to weather.

Each Charter School makes their own decision about weather so contact them directly for updates!