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Weather, Safety, Security and School Alerts

The Superintendent will make the decision to cancel school, delay the start time, or dismiss classes early if conditions are deemed dangerous to students and staff. We will announce delays in start times and cancellations as early as possible, but not later than 6 a.m. Parents or guardians may choose to keep their children at home if they are concerned about weather conditions while school is in session. Please notify your student’s school and your absence will be recorded as excused.

How Weather Delays and Cancellations are Determined

All Story County school superintendents use a variety of factors when determining whether to delay or cancel school. The safety of students, staff, and parents is a priority when making these decisions. We take into consideration travel conditions, as well as students who may have to walk and/or wait for the bus. Some of those factors include:

  • Timing of impending winter storm
  • Travel conditions that include blowing and drifting snow.
  • Wind chill threshold as determined by the National Weather Service. We use a fifteen-minute threshold as a gauge when making decisions.

When a school cancellation of classes is necessary:

  • All District schools will be closed, before and after-school activities will be canceled.
  • As a general rule, athletic events will be canceled.

When a delayed start is necessary:

  • The District will follow a two-hour delay schedule unless there are unusual circumstances.
  •  All before-and after-school professional development activities will be canceled.
  • Morning preschool and early kindergarten classes at Northwood Preschool Center will be canceled.
  • Northwood afternoon classroom (both preschool and Early Kindergarten) will start at 12:15 p.m. and dismiss at 3:15 p.m.
  • Elementary school will start at 10:30 a.m.
  • Middle school will start at 10 a.m.
  • High School will start at 9:50 a.m.

In the event of a delayed start on a Wednesday:

Because a delayed start on Wednesday cancels professional development activities after school at the elementary level, the Wednesday delay schedule is based on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday start times and dismissal times.

  • Elementary students will start at 10:30 a.m. and dismiss at 3:30 p.m.
  • Middle school will start at 10 a.m. and dismiss at 3:15 p.m.
  • High school will start at 9:50 a.m. and dismiss at 3:10 p.m.
  • No morning Early Kindergarten classes.
  • Afternoon Early Kindergarten class will start at 12:15 p.m. and end at 3:15 p.m. Please check the rotating Wednesday schedule on the Northwood school hours page

When an early dismissal is necessary:

  • The Superintendent will make the decision by 11 a.m., if possible.
  • Early-dismissal times may vary depending on the weather conditions.
  • Afternoon preschool and early kindergarten classes at Northwood Preschool Center will be canceled.
  • After-school activities will be canceled and, in general, athletic events will be canceled.

How to Stay Informed of School Closings and Delays

  • Phone calls, text, and email messages are sent via Blackboard with the phone numbers and email addresses in Infinite Campus.  This means that it is very important to keep your information updated in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal so that we are able to contact you in an emergency.
  • An alert message will be posted at the top of this website.

Make-up Days

If the number of weather-related cancellations requires days to be made up to complete the state-and Board-mandated number of instruction hours, we will add make-up dates to end of the District calendar and we will alert parents and guardians about the calendar change.

The Ames Community School District is committed to the safety of our students, staff, and visitors. We have a plan in place for safety, security, and responding to emergencies and disasters. We post our plan in every building and classroom.

Emergency Responses

Evacuation: Issued when it is determined that an internal threat makes it safer outside the building than inside. 

Shelter-In-Place: Issued when a non-imminent threat is perceived in the surrounding area to the school.

Hold-In-Place: Issued when a non-imminent threat is occurring within the building. This may be issued when there is a need to isolate movement in a specific wing of the building. 

Lockdown: Issued when an imminent threat of violence could jeopardize the safety of students and staff. 

In the case of a fire, evacuate immediately. For tornado, proceed to the designated shelter. Active threats initiate ALICE protocols. 

Coordination With Local Agencies

We coordinate our response to a crisis with local public safety agencies, such as the Ames Police and Fire Departments, the Story County Sheriff and Emergency Management Agency, and area hospitals.


The Director of Communications manages the information given to the community and to media to ensure it is accurate, consistent and serves to enhance the response to the situation. We provide information to parents and guardians about the situation, dismissal procedures, and procedures for reuniting families with students. The methods we use to get in touch with parents and guardians may vary, depending on the nature of the situation.

  • We will use Blackboard to send text message alerts that are followed up with email messages to subscribed parents and guardians. Please make sure your contact information is accurate in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal
  • If appropriate to the situation, we will post alerts on the District website and distribute them to the media.

What Parents and Guardians Can Do To Help

  • Check your contact preferences in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal to get timely information by text and email. Follow the instructions you receive in any message you receive from the District.
  • For the safety of your child, please do not call or come to the school during a crisis. Please wait for instructions and updates.
  • Attend the information meetings your school provides about safety and responses to crisis.
  • Make a habit of signing in and out at the school office, greeting the office staff, and wearing a visitor’s badge.
  • Report any unusual persons, behavior, activity, or objects in the buildings or on the school grounds.
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