School Safety » Weather Guidelines

Weather Guidelines

As always, the paramount concern is our students and staff's safety and well-being. The decision to close, delay, or release school is complex, and PCM is dedicated to implementing a weather-related protocol that ensures wise and timely decisions to safeguard everyone and keep the community informed. This page will be updated as necessary to provide essential information to parents, students, staff, and the community.

Before making any modifications to the school day or canceling school due to severe weather conditions, the Superintendent will consult with leaders both within and outside the PCM District. Considering the well-being of over 1100 students and 184 staff members, a careful and appropriate decision will be made. We acknowledge that individual circumstances may not always align with this decision. Therefore, on inclement days when school is not delayed, released early, or canceled due to weather, we support parents in deciding what is best for their child and encourage them to contact their child’s school office to report any absence. Please contact your child’s school office to report the absence.


The National Weather Service
District officials use the National Weather Service (NWS) website to monitor current weather conditions and forecasts to make weather-related decisions. At PCM, we specifically utilize information from the NWS for Prairie City and NWS for Monroe. The NWS’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) wind chill index chart is also utilized. 


General Guidelines:

  • If school will be closed or delayed, the District will make the notification by 6:30 a.m. the day of the closing/delay.*  
  • If the District can make the determination the night before to close or delay school – meaning the forecast undoubtedly warrants closure/delay – the District will send a notification by 9:00 p.m.* There will be no additional notification sent through Infinite Campus the next morning.
  • District weather-related decisions are announced through local media outlets and multiple District communication platforms. These platforms include:
  • Radio: KCOB 95.9 FM/1280 AM, 
  • TV: WeAreIowa 5, KCCI 8, & WHOTV 13.
  • Social media: We will post all cancellations, late starts, and early dismissals on our District Facebook page.
  • Infinite Campus notification system: If selected, parents/guardians, staff, and students will receive email notifications and text and/or phone alerts. Be sure to keep your contact information updated at all times. To double-check or change your preferences, log into your Infinite Campus account. For assistance, don't hesitate to get in touch with a building secretary.
  • There are times when our buses can only travel on hard-surface roads. See our Hard Surface Guidelines for more information.

*Please note that weather conditions can decline rapidly. In these cases, the District may delay or cancel outside our general timelines.

Cancellations/Closings include (but are not limited to): 

  • All buildings and offices.
  • All District educational and preschool programing.
  • Campfire Sparks Childcare and other before and after-school programs.
  • Elementary and Middle School activities, practices, and events.
  • High School activities, practices, and athletic event cancellations and postponement will generally follow the district's decision unless otherwise noted.
  • Facility rentals will be cancelled, including meetings and activities hosted by outside organizations.

Updated: 1/2024

Closing due to temperature or wind chill.

Schools will be closed or delayed if the NWS forecasts a sustained wind chill of -25 degrees Fahrenheit or colder or actual sustained temperature of -15 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.  A delay or release will be considered if the above temperatures are forecasted between the travel times of 5:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and/or 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.  A school cancellation will be considered if the forecasted temperatures fall within our guidelines for 10:00 a.m. the following morning. 


Again, at PCM, we specifically utilize information from the NWS for Prairie City and NWS for Monroe. The NWS’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) wind chill index chart is also utilized in the District’s decision-making process. 

Releasing school early due to weather conditions that are expected to worsen throughout the school day.

When an early dismissal is deemed necessary:

  • A decision will be determined as soon as possible, preferably by 10:30 a.m.
  • Early dismissal times may vary depending on the weather conditions
  • Children normally transported on buses will be returned by bus unless parents have made other arrangements and communicated to the child’s school

Delaying the start of school due to weather conditions that are expected to improve throughout the school day. 


School will be delayed if the forecast for 6:30 a.m. the following morning shows a threat of hazardous weather conditions such as heavy snow, ice, fog, extreme cold temperatures, etc. Notifications of the late start will be made by 9:00 p.m. the night before a cancellation when possible. If conditions have worsened following the 9:00 p.m. notification timeline, the District will recheck conditions and make a notification by 6:30 a.m. 


When a late start is deemed necessary:

  • Late start times may vary depending on the weather conditions.
  • Breakfast will not be served at school.
  • In the event of a late start on a regularly scheduled early dismissal day, the early dismissal will be canceled, and school will follow the regular dismissal times. 

Closing due to snow or hazardous driving conditions.

School will be canceled if heavy snow and/or icy conditions make it exceedingly hazardous or impossible for school buses to travel their routes and/or for employees and students to report to school safely. In most circumstances, decisions and notifications will be made by 6:30 a.m. for a cancellationIf the District can make the determination the night before to close school, the District will send a notification by 9:00 p.m. As a general practice, all activities, practices, and events are canceled unless otherwise noted.

Cancellations of after-school or evening activities due to declining weather conditions after a normal school day.  

The PCM District Activities Director will decide to cancel after-school or evening activities, practices, or events in collaboration with the Transportation Director and building-level administrators. When it is deemed that a cancellation is necessary due to declining weather, the decision will be made by 2:30 PM the day of the scheduled event, activity, or practice and the PCM Activities Department will communicate cancelations or postponement.

When activity cancellations are made, they include (but are not limited to):

  • District-sponsored after-school programs, activities, and practices.
  • All school events (Elementary/Middle School/High School)
  • Family engagement activities (i.e. conferences)
  • Meetings and activities in a school building or District facility hosted by an outside organization, including youth and adult sports