Emergency Closings

Communication with Caregivers

In the event of an emergency closing or delay, the Ithaca City School District may communicate with caregivers via an automated telephone, email, or text message. To ensure you receive communications from the district and your child's school, please verify that your contact information in SchoolTool is correct and that you are set up to receive mail. Instructions for doing so can be found on our Parent/Caregiver Communications page.

*PLEASE NOTE: If you wish to receive text messages from the district, you must ensure that your cell phone number is the first number listed in SchoolTool AND opt-in. You can opt-in any time from your wireless device by texting “Y” or “Yes” to the district’s short code number, 67587.

Additionally, we will post up-to-date information on school closings and delays on our district website and our Facebook and Instagram feeds. The following local media stations will also have information on closings:

  • Cayuga Radio Group

    • WHCU (870 AM, 97.7 FM)

    • WYXL-FM / Lite Rock (97.3 FM)

    • WYXL-HD2 / 96.7 The Vine (96.7 FM)

    • WYXL-HD/3 / The Buzzer (96.3 FM)

    • WQNY-FM / Q Country (103.7 FM)

    • WQNY-HD3 / Alt 95.9 (95.9 FM)

    • WNYY AM/FM / Pure Oldies (1470 AM/94.1 FM)

    • WIII-FM / I100 Iconic Rock (99.9/100.3 FM)

    • WFIZ-FM / Z95.5 (95.5 FM)

    • WFIZ-HD2 / Rewind (107.7 FM)

  • WVBR-FM (93.5 FM)

  • WICB-FM (91.7 FM)

  • Seven Mountains Media Group

    • WWLZ (820 AM)

    • WINK 106

    • WINGZ 93

    • 104.9 FM

    • 101.7 JAMZ

    • 101 The Met

    • 103.1/840 AM Bigfoot Country

  • WENY-TV (Elmira)

  • CNYCentral

  • News Channel 9

Weather Delays and Closures

The ICSD is in an area where snow is typical during winter months. If weather conditions pose a potential hazard to students and staff, school officials may dismiss students early, delay the opening of schools, or close schools for the day. If conditions require the closing or delayed opening of schools, decisions are usually made by 6 a.m. When possible, decisions are made the preceding evening.

If it is necessary to close schools during the day, announcements will be made by 10:30 a.m. ICSD-sponsored afternoon and evening meetings and activities are canceled if schools close early or are closed for the day. If hazardous weather is predicted for later in the evening, afternoon activities may be allowed, and evening activities may be canceled. Afternoon activities are those that end by 6 p.m. Evening activities begin at 6 p.m. or later.

Prepare for Emergency School Closings

Decisions to close or delay the opening of schools are made as early as possible. Every effort is made to decide by 6 a.m. Once that decision is made, school officials will follow the communication protocols outlined above in Communication with Caregivers.

What are the possibilities during a weather situation?

After-School Activity Cancelations

If weather conditions during the school day turn dangerous, after-school activities may be canceled. The decision will be made no later than 1 p.m. and communicated to all families and staff shortly afterward. All students, except those in non-ICSD after-school programs, are expected to go home after school if after-school activities are canceled, and after-school care programs may close early. Staff will remain until all students are picked up. However, we ask parents to please pick up students as soon as they are able after dismissal if notified of after-school cancellations.

During certain weather events, such as hazardous air quality conditions or extreme heat, only outdoor after-school activities may be canceled or moved indoors. View our Air Quality Index Guidelines and Best Practices for the Prevention of Heat-Related Illnesses for more information.

2-Hour Delay

A late start decision will be made as early as possible and direct notification will be sent by 6 a.m. If a two-hour delay is activated, the following will occur:

  • The district will contact local news and radio stations to report the delayed start and send notices to caregivers via SchoolMessenger. Notices will also be posted on the district website and social media feeds.

  • All bus routes will be delayed by exactly two hours (e.g., if your bus stop is typically at 8:37 a.m., it will be at 10:37 a.m. on delayed start days).

  • All schools will start exactly two hours later than normal. Elementary students should arrive at school between 9:40 and 10 a.m.

  • Students will follow a condensed bell schedule for all scheduled classes. There will be no Zero Period at Ithaca High School, Boynton, or DeWitt on delayed start days. (View IHS' bell schedules here >>)

  • Pre-k classes will NOT be held if a two-hour delay occurs on a Friday. This does not apply to 12:45 p.m. dismissal classes.

  • Simple breakfasts will be available to students when schools open, and regular lunches will be served at modified times.

  • Schools will be dismissed at their normal times at the end of the school day.

  • If conditions do not improve within two hours, classes may be canceled for the entire day, and the same methods of notification outlined above will be followed.

Early Dismissal

Parents should create an emergency plan for their children in the event weather conditions cause early dismissal from school. Go over that plan with your children so they know what to do if schools dismiss early. We try to avoid early dismissals, but they are necessary when weather conditions threaten the safety of our students and staff. Decisions to close early are usually made by 10:30 a.m.

Snow Day

The determination to cancel school for an entire day will happen as early as possible. Every effort will be made to notify families and staff by 6 a.m. at the latest. 

Weather Varies Throughout the County

Weather conditions in one part of the county, such as icy or flooded roads, might cause a delayed opening or early closing even if the roads in your neighborhood appear safe. The Ithaca City School District operates as a system, and unless there is an isolated closing of one school, announcements are for all public schools in our district. The safety of our students and staff is our priority.

For additional information on emergency closings and other school emergencies, please view the Ithaca City School District School Safety Plan

Resources