Weather Related Closures, Delays, and Early Dismissals

student walking with teacher

Winter is fast approaching, and the Marshalltown Community School District would like to share how decisions are made regarding school closures, delays, or early dismissals due to inclement weather. We know our decision to open or close schools in bad weather has a big effect on Bobcat families. We also understand that our students are better served, both academically and socially, by being in school. But, as always, our top priority is the safety of our students.

How Do We Make Our Decisions?

Factors that impact the District’s decision to open or close the schools in bad weather include:

  • Information on road conditions from District Transportation staff and the City of Marshalltown, including the amount of snow/ice accumulation.

  • Current weather conditions according to the National Weather Service, including precipitation, temperatures, winds, and more. 

  • Building conditions, such as whether we have electricity and heat.

  • Information on parking lot conditions from District maintenance and custodial staff members responsible for clearing and treating school parking lots and sidewalks.

  • Temperature and wind chill – In the interest of student safety, if wind chills reach -25 degrees and/or raw temperatures approach -15 degrees, we must seriously consider closing, delaying or dismissing early.

  • Weather predictions – We prefer not to make our decision based on weather predictions alone as they are not always accurate. However, we recognize that this is sometimes unavoidable, and in doing so we would rather error on the side of safety.

  • What other area school districts are doing – We work closely with area school districts and check whether they are opening or closing. MCSD is more urban than all of our neighboring school districts, which are mostly made up of rural residences and roads. For this reason, it is possible that our schools may be in session when surrounding districts are not.

Who Makes the Decision?

Marshalltown Community School District Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte is responsible for making the decision on whether or not to close, delay, or dismiss early due to inclement weather. The final decision will be made based on the factors listed above and on recommendations from our directors of Transportation and Buildings & Grounds.

How Is The Public Notified?

As soon as a decision is made, we will notify the public in several different ways:

  • Emails and text messages will be sent to all parents through Infinite Campus (Campus Portal) and all District employees will receive an email notification.

  • Area print, radio, and television news media will be made aware of our decision so that they can notify the public.

  • Online notifications will be posted on the MCSD website,, and on the District Facebook and Twitter pages. 

  • In the event of an early dismissal, we will also send a voice call notification to parents through Infinite Campus. 

As a District, we will continue to seek ways to better reach as many parents and guardians as possible with important, timely information.

When Is The Decision Made?

Our goal is to make a decision by 5:30 a.m. in order to notify District families, District staff, and area news media. It is crucial that we announce a weather-related closing as early as possible so parents know of our decision before leaving for work.

Will We Close School If Conditions Worsen?

We cannot reverse our decision in the morning without endangering students. Once we make the decision to keep schools open, many parents rely on that decision and leave for work. If we then send students back home, many will return to unsupervised bus stops and empty houses. If conditions get worse during the school day, we may need to have an early dismissal, but we will give adequate notice to all parents first.

Bobcat students’ best interests are at the heart of every inclement weather decision the District makes; however, we know that often no perfect decision exists. If you do not feel it is safe for your child to attend school, use your best judgment on whether he or she should attend. Also, discourage teenagers from driving in bad weather conditions and offer them alternatives if conditions worsen. 

We hope the above information explains the process MCSD uses to make the best possible decision for all of our students, staff and families during inclement weather. Here’s to a safe, educational, and healthy winter!

Theron Schutte

Theron Schutte

Email Theron Schutte