School Delays and Closures Protocol

School "Safety Closure" information

After extensive research and study of historical and recent school safety incidents, the U.S. Department of Education issued a new document with new guidelines for school safety entitled "Guide For Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operation Plans." One of the major findings was that the lone option to lockdown was no longer enough. It was stressed that "as the situation develops, it is possible that students and staff will need to use more than one option." In order to give our staff and students more options to protect themselves, KPBSD adopted the ALICE protocols to be used when the presence of a violent intruder necessitates a "Safety Closure." ALICE is an acronym for ALERT, LOCKDOWN, INFORM, COUNTER, and EVACUATE.

It is important to understand that these protocols are age appropriate, not sequential or chronological, and those involved have the ability to change protocols as an incident progresses. KPBSD's change to the use of ALICE protocols has been done in conjunction with our local law enforcement agencies. These agencies also participate in the training of staff and students.

Please read this document for an explanation of ALICE

Emergency Guidelines for Parents and Guardians

What to know before, during, and after a school emergency. Click to review parent and guardian checklist KPBSD emergency terms:

  • Stay Put: A "stay put" takes place when a potential threat is identified in the school's neighborhood. All school doors are locked but classes continue inside as normal. No entry into or exit from the school is allowed. Students will not be released until the situation is resolved and the "stay put" has been rescinded.
  • Safety Closure: A "safety closure" takes place when a violent intruder is identified on school grounds or in the school building. The ALICE protocols will be followed. No entry into or exit from the school is allowed. Students will not be released until the situation is resolved and the "safety closure" has been rescinded.
  • Shelter-In-Place: A "shelter-in-place" takes place when students take refuge in designated areas to be protected from hazardous materials or severe weather. Entry or exit from the schools will be controlled.
  • Evacuation: In the event of certain building emergencies, students will be relocated to an appropriate evacuation assembly area. Students will be released to parents per district student release procedures.

Please read this document for parent and guardian guidelines for a school emergency

School Delays and Closures Protocol

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is committed to school safety, and educating every student. When the decision is made to close or delay the start of school for two-hours, an involved process takes place before the decision is communicated. Additionally, if a school make-up day is necessary, several factors contribute to determine the date for one or more make-up days of school.

In the event of two-hour school delays or closures, official announcements will be made on this website homepage, the KPBSD Facebook and Twitter pages, shared through the KPBSD Mobile App, social media, and local radio and television stations. The district or school may use the automated call system to notify families directly. If there is a two-hour delay start, both morning and afternoon PreK classes are cancelled.

Timing of the decision is crucial so we can notify transportation before busses begin their routes, employees head to work, and students and families prepare for a school day, potentially waiting at bus-stops.

The decision to close school for the day or institute a two-hour delay start is the responsibility of the Superintendent of Schools. 

If school remains open, and you as a parent or guardian do not believe it is safe for your child to travel to school, use your best judgment to determine what is safest for your child. Please notify the school if your child will not attend, absences will be excused.


Determining to close or delay the opening of school by two hours

Standard decision process

  1. Assistant Superintendent gathers information, beginning as soon as accurate information is available. Consultation and assessment may include: 
    • District transportation personnel
    • Apple Bus Company
    • Alaska State Department of Transportation (DOT)
    • Alaska State Troopers (AST)
    • Central Emergency Services (CES)
    • Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management (OEM)
    • Homer Electric Association (HEA) and utility providers
    • Weather services
    • Onsite school district employees
  2. The Assistant Superintendent contacts the Superintendent of Schools to update about specific conditions and to offer a recommendation for a two-hour delay start or school closure.
  1. The Superintendent of Schools makes a final decision.
  1. School principals are contacted with the decision and supporting information*
  • Principal contacts school staff
  • District or school may implement automated call, social media post, or other type of contact message to parents if applicable.
  1. KPBSD district office will communicate and post school delay or closure and subsequent updates to:

*KPBSD may be briefed with information that will help determine that a two-hour delay start will result in school being in session for the day. At other times, the two-hour delay allows time to assess the evolving conditions, before making the decision to close school for the day. If the roads are impassable due to inclement weather, a two-hour delay will give road crews additional time for sanding and plowing,

How-to calculate a two-hour delay start time

  • Add two hours to normal school start time.
  • Add two hours to normal bus pick-up time. Thus, students are picked-up two hours later than the normal scheduled bus pick-up time.
  • KPBSD employees may arrive two hours later than normal work-day morning schedule.
  • Schools will dismiss at the normal time unless announced otherwise.
  • Morning and afternoon Pre-K classes are cancelled on days with a two-hour delay start time.

Make-up Instruction Days

If school is closed for the day, a make-up day must be scheduled. KPBSD does not build additional days into the annual calendar for potential inclement weather or school closures that may or may not occur.

  • A make-up day is generally scheduled on a vacation day, or after the official school calendar ends in May. One day is built into the calendar—typically the third Friday in the last quarter—and is often used as the first option for a make-up day.
  • Factors to consider when a make-up day is scheduled for one or more schools in KPBSD: 
    • Coordinated bus transportation
    • Student nutrition services—breakfast and lunch programs
    • Staffing 

A few facts

  • State law mandates a school term of 180 days with up to ten of these days used for teacher in-service.
  • Per state law, all students must attend school for the minimum of 170 student contact days.
  • KPBSD teaching contract is 188 days (also includes orientation days and 7 mandated holidays.) Teacher in-service days are part of Professional Development and required by contract. Flexible work days are most often utilized at the front end of the school year (August) in preparation for the school year.

Closing school for the day or instituting a two-hour delay start is a complex decision, with several factors involved. Every effort is made to keep school in session.

If school remains open, and you as a parent do not believe it is safe for your child to travel to school, use your best judgment to determine what is safest for your child. Please notify the school if your child will not attend.

Updated: October 20, 2017

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