Weather Delays and Closures

Douglas County School District takes the safety of our students, staff, parents and community members seriously. Our district is huge - spanning 850+ square miles, and conditions can vary from one region to another.

Because many of our families and staff travel across the school district, any weather delay or closure will apply to the entire school district (unless otherwise indicated).

The decision to close, delay or keep a school open during inclement weather is never taken lightly. We always keep the safety of our students, staff, and parents top of mind. Factors including snowfall, wind chill, road conditions and more are all taken into consideration.


When a snowstorm is approaching

By far, the biggest reason for school delays/closures in Colorado are snowstorms. The DCSD Snow Team is dedicated to monitoring incoming storms, assessing whether a delay or closure is warranted and communicating the decision to our stakeholders and the public.

When school remains open

During Colorado winters, snow and ice are to be expected. We encourage everyone within Douglas County to drive safely.

Those who do not feel comfortable driving in winter conditions or are inexperienced should consider alternate transportation options. As always, on days where DCSD’s Snow Team is activated and a delay or closure is not implemented, we respect the decision of our parents to keep their child home, if necessary. Please call your child's school and this will be an excused absence.

When there is a 90-minute delay

When DCSD is on a 90-minute delay, all schools begin 90-minutes after regular start times. Bus routes are also delayed by 90-minutes, so students should plan to be picked up one and a half hours later than normal. DCSD before school care (BASE) also begins 90-minutes later than normal. During a delay, morning preschool and morning kindergarten (half-day) programs are canceled. Full-day preschool and full-day kindergarten programs operate on a 90-minute delay. Dismissal times remain the same. Click here to view delayed start times for each school

When there is a closure

When DCSD is closed due to weather conditions, all schools and buildings are closed, and any scheduled activities are cancelled.

Where are delays and closures posted?

In the event of a delay or closure, the information will be posted on the DCSD website. We will also post updates on the DCSD Facebook and Twitter accounts, the DCSD mobile app, and on local media outlets.

How the decision is made

Beginning 24 hours prior to the start of a forecasted storm, we have several staff members (DCSD Snow Team) assessing the changing conditions across the county and at our schools. If the forecast or current conditions are concerning, the team makes a recommendation for a delay or closure to the superintendent, who makes the final decision.

The procedure for determining whether schools will start on time, be delayed or closed is as follows:

  • The district receives ongoing weather forecasts from local meteorologists, SkyView Weather and the National Weather Service.

  • At 4:00 p.m. the day prior to the forecasted storm, our Operations team determines whether or not to activate the DCSD Snow Team. Depending on the status of the incoming storm a Snow Team call is scheduled for later that evening, or for 4:00 a.m. the next morning. 

  • When the DCSD Snow Team is activated:

  • Beginning at 3:00 a.m. (or sooner) area drivers report conditions to the Transportation Director and Chief Operations Officer.

  • District staff contacts neighboring school districts to share information and recommendations.

  • The forecast is reviewed continuously.

  • Before 4:00 a.m. the DCSD Transportation and Operations & Maintenance Directors share information and potential recommendations with the Chief Operations Officer.

  • At 4:00 a.m. the Superintendent and members of his Cabinet join a “Snow Team call,” and the COO provides information and his recommendation regarding whether the district should remain open, be delayed, or closed.

  • The superintendent reviews all available information and makes the final decision by 5:00 a.m. 

  • If a delay or cancellation is to be implemented, families will receive a text message and email via SchoolMessenger (make sure you're opted in!) no later than 6:00 a.m. Notifications will also be posted on the district website, social media channels, and local media agencies.

In rare cases, it is possible for the district to make a decision the evening before for the next day. When that happens, families will be notified by 10:00 p.m.

Because the Douglas County School District is 850+ square miles, conditions may vary in different areas of the district - even from neighborhood to neighborhood. Decisions are based on predictions and conditions on the ground in the district before 5:00 a.m. We know that sometimes, extreme weather conditions arise or worsen as students, parents, and community members are already commuting.

We are committed to making the best possible decision when it comes to closures and delays, and taking every measure to ensure the safety of our entire community. Our number-one priority is making sure that everyone is able to make it to school safely, and this goal steers every step of our process.

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Douglas County School District Nondiscrimination Notice: The Douglas County School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, religion, national origin, ancestry, creed, age, marital status, genetic information, or physical characteristics, disability or need for special education services in admissions, access to, treatment of, or employment in educational programs or activities. The School District’s Compliance Officer is Ted Knight, Assistant Superintendent, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado,, 303-387-0067. Complaint procedures have been established for students, parents, employees and members of the public.