School Closing, Late Start or Early Release Procedures

The Superintendent will make decisions about school closings, late starts, or early releases as early in the day as possible in event of hazardous weather, epidemics, or other emergencies which threaten the safety or health of students or staff members. The school closure, late start, or early release will be communicated to staff, students, families, and the school community via designated broadcast media, local authorities, Instant Alert, e-mail, and/or district or school building websites. 

If Administration and Transportation staff decide that a late start is called for, buses will still be available to transport children, just two hours later than their usual time. If the weather turns drastically worse during the school day, parents could be notified of an early release. Buses would again be available for transporting students, and families would be notified at all contact numbers and email addresses.

In our 2,200 square mile district, conditions can vary greatly. The district recognizes that weather conditions in Bigfork can be drastically different from those in Grand Rapids. As a result, families may also see a Bigfork-only school closure, late start, or early release.

The decision to close school is a serious one, and it affects many working families who would have to take a day off of work or find day care on short notice. Some families do not have these options and their children may be left home alone. Often, children are more at risk when we close school. Now, we hope to better serve parents and families with this added flexibility.

Remember, the final decision to keep your child home lies with you. Should you choose to keep your child home, ISD 318 will always support that decision. We appreciate your feedback and know that the safety of your children is foremost in your mind, as it is in ours.

A wind‑chill of ‑50° Fahrenheit will be identified for a closing of schools because of cold weather.

Frequently Asked Questions About School Closings

How does the district determine a snow day or late start?

  • District transportation staff drive roads and check with city and county public works staff between 4 and 5 a.m. to determine if streets are open and buses can get through. We also check forecasts from the National Weather Service and consult with other school districts who may be experiencing the same or similar weather.

Does the school district lose money if school is closed?

  • No. The district does not lose state aid if school closes for weather or other emergencies. State revenue is based on the number of students enrolled in school, not on the number of days in school.

What is the guideline for keeping elementary children inside during cold weather?

  • If the temperature drops below zero or if the wind chill is -10, elementary children are kept inside for recess. Accommodations for children with special medical needs can be made with the building nurse.

Where can I get information on school closings due to weather?

  • The district provides information on school closings in a variety of ways.
  • Instant alert notifications via phone, email, and text
  • Notification on district and school websites
  • Notification on district social media pages
  • The following radio stations are notified: KOZY, KMFY, WEVE, KQDS, KAXE, KGPZ, WCCO
  • The following television stations are notified: KDLH, WCCO, KSTP, KBJR/KR11, KMSP/Fox 9, WDIO/WIRT, KARE

For additional questions about district winter weather procedures, please contact the Superintendent’s Office at 


Radio Station channel TV Station channel
KQDS 105.5 FM KBJR/KR11 6/11
KAXE 91.7 FM KMSP/Fox 9 9
KGPZ 96.1 FM WDIO/WIRT 10/13