Delays and Closures

When temperatures drop, snowflakes fall, and ice is in the forecast, it does not take long for the questions to start flooding in – can we have a Snow Day tomorrow? If we have a delay, should I go to my first period class or a later class? What about after school programs? Here are answers to common questions about delays, early dismissals, and cancelations.

For Parents and Students

Where should I look for updates about cancelations, delays, and early releases?
There are multiple places to check, including:

In addition, the district will send you an email and call you using the contact information you provide at school registration time. To opt in for texts as well, text “Yes” to 67587.

How does D51 decide to cancel school?
Weather delay and cancelation decisions are based on current road conditions and the weather forecast for the rest of the day. When bad weather is predicted, District 51 leaders, safety officers, and grounds crews work with Student Transportation of America drivers to test road conditions all over the district starting at 4 in the morning. They determine whether the roads should be passable – not perfect – so please drive carefully.

When does the district make the decision?

The district tries to make a decision by 5 or 5:30 a.m. and notify parents as soon as possible. If a two-hour delay turns into a Snow Day, the decision may come a little later than that, but a decision usually will be made no later than 6 a.m. on the day of the cancelation. Rarely, a sudden change in the weather forecast and road conditions may necessitate a later call. Please be patient and keep your   

phone handy – the autodialer system can take time to cycle through large reams of numbers.


What do I do if I don’t feel the roads are safe?

Parents and guardians have the final say on their child’s safety. If you would prefer to keep your child home for the day, please call the school office and the absence will be excused.


When do classes let out if there is an early release due to weather?

Schools will let out as soon as the district and bus crews determine there’s a need to let out early and can give families notice that they’ll need to pick up children early. The release time will be announced in a call, text, and email from your child’s school.

Elementary schools and middle and high schools will get out at different times, as most buses take both an elementary and a secondary route each day.


What happens to high school class schedules when there’s a delayed start?

Every high school has the choice to do it their own way, but most will follow an assembly bell schedule if there’s a delayed start. That means students go to all of the classes they normally attend in the same order, just for shorter periods. School will release at the usual time.


How do Snow Days, delays, and early releases affect kindergarten and preschool students?

Cancelations that apply to all District 51 schools apply to all District 51 preschools as well. If there is a delayed start, stay tuned to District 51 social media accounts and the District 51 website to see if morning preschool and morning kindergarten are delayed as well or canceled altogether.

In the case of an early release, check social media and to see if afternoon preschool and afternoon kindergarten are canceled or letting out early. Extended Hours will release its own information about operations on bad weather days.


How can I track my child’s bus during a delay or early dismissal situation?
Your best bet is to check the free SafeStop app. You can register for SafeStop by typing in your child’s Student ID Number at, then download the app from the Google Play or Apple App Store. The app uses GPS on local school buses to show you where your child’s bus is during its route. Any time there is inclement weather, buses will drive slower than usual, so expect delays.

For D51 Staff
Please be sure to read the attached documents to see how these events and procedure changes might impact you.

In the months that follow, Mesa County Valley Schools may need to delay, close, or dismiss school early due to weather conditions.  Please keep a watchful eye on weather conditions throughout the winter to anticipate potential changes in our collective work schedule. Our goal is to make decisions about closures or delayed starts by 5:00 AM, and decisions to dismiss early by noon.  A variety of communications will go out as a way to increase the likelihood of reaching the entire community about changes to our normal operating schedule.  We will only notify of changes; operations are normal if no notification is made. 

Please bookmark our website, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter as these will be the first places an announcement will appear.




After posting to our website and social media accounts, we will initiate contact through SchoolMessenger, which reaches parents and staff via voice, email, and text.  Following these updates, we will notify the primary television and radio news stations in the valley.


Four key phrases will be consistently used:

  1. Schools and administrative offices are closed, only designated emergency response staff are required to report.
  2. Schools are closed, but it is a required work-day for all staff.
  3. Schools will start two-hours late (staff should arrive early enough to receive students).
  4. Schools will dismiss two-hours early (staff should stay late enough to dismiss students).


Hazardous Weather Emergency Response Staff
In the event buildings are closed or on a late start due to snow, the following employees may be required to report to work to help prepare facilities for opening.  If you are required to work you will be notified by your supervisor.

  • Ground workers
  • Maintenance (if requested by supervisor)
  • Custodians
  • Principals
  • Superintendent
  • Chief Academic Officer
  • Chief Operations Officer
  • All Executive Directors
  • Director of Safety
  • Communications Specialist
  • School Secretaries (if requested by the principal)

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