It is important to be prepared for the winter storms and extreme cold that every South Dakota winter brings.  Please read the following information so you are aware of the procedures for school related cancellations and postponements.

District leaders rely on experts from the National Weather Service and city/county officials when we make decisions on school cancellations, late starts or early dismissals.

Cancelling School/Late Start
When a severe storm hits the area, or is forecast, we start contacting local officials as early as 3:00 a.m.  We communicate with our Operational Services Department, the Weather Bureau, the City Street Department, Sioux Falls Transit, and our transportation contractors. It is our goal to decide whether or not to cancel school by 5 a.m. to allow time for parking lots and sidewalks to be cleared, food services to prepare meals and the bus company to begin operations.  In the event that school needs to be cancelled or delayed, families will be alerted via a ParentLink phone call.  These calls will generally be sent between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. to accommodate families whose children are picked up by buses at 6:45 a.m. Announcements are also made on the District’s website, the app and over the local radio and television stations.

Because the public schools have a limited rural area, it is often possible for Sioux Falls to have school when nearby towns may not.

Early Dismissal

Storms occasionally move in during the day, making it necessary to assess whether or not to dismiss school early.  We choose early dismissal only under the most extreme circumstances.  In most cases, it is safer for students to remain at school due to the need for transportation and proper supervision.  In the rare instances when schools are dismissed early, families will receive a ParentLink phone call and the information will appear on the District’s website at www.sf.k12.sd.us.  Announcements are also made over the local radio and television stations.

Notifications refer to dismissal “one hour early” or “two hours early” because of the number of different building schedules.  In addition to noting the early dismissal, announcements about evening activities are normally included.

It is very important that every family has a plan for early dismissal. Be sure your student knows where to go in case no one is at home. Parents/Guardians are urged to talk with their student about his/her safety during winter weather emergencies. 

Be Safe This Winter
The school system offers these suggestions concerning cold weather and
emergency situations:

  1. Listen for a ParentLink phone call regarding school closings, late starts, or early dismissals.  Check the District’s website at www.sf.k12.sd.us for updated information.  Announcements will also be made on local radio and television stations.  (Please avoid calling schools or the Instructional Planning Center. Phone lines are needed for emergency communications.)
  2. Make sure students are properly dressed for predicted weather conditions so they are prepared for walking or waiting for a bus in the cold or for being delayed on a bus in a weather-related situation.
  3. Students should not arrive at school until the scheduled time for outdoor staff supervision or the breakfast program begins. 
  4. Develop a plan and inform your student about where your student will go if school is dismissed early. 
  5. School officials will use their best judgment about school closings, late starts, or early dismissals, but please remember that a parent has the right to keep children home or to pick them up from school early if they feel weather conditions require this action.