Alerts and Weather Impacts

For many of our students, school is the safest place to be during inclement weather. In many cases, both parents and/or guardians work outside the home. Schools provide a warm, supervised environment for children. However, parents are always encouraged to consider the conditions of their neighborhood and the well-being of their students in deciding whether to keep their student home. Students are excused from school when parents so request.

Winter Weather Decisions

Bend-La Pine Schools will be open daily as scheduled, regardless of weather, unless a closure or delayed start announcement is made. Typically, decisions regarding schedule changes are made in the early morning, before school, when current weather conditions can be assessed. Our goal is to make these decisions before our first bus leaves the transportation department, just after 5 a.m.

Any changes to schedule will be:

  • Posted on district and school webpages — www.bend.k12.or.us
  • Broadcast by local media beginning at approximately 6 a.m.
  • Shared via Twitter @BLPSchools
  • Posted on the district Facebook page
  • Shared with subscribers to the district's text notification system, BLConnect
    • Register at BLConnect (English and Spanish options available)
  • Made available via an on-demand recorded phone line
    • English: 541-323-7669
    • Spanish: 541-355-0044

No news means no change

Note: no news = no change. If there is a change in the school schedule due to inclement weather, we will announce the change. On days when school is in session and on regular schedule, the district will not make an announcement.

Prior to making decisions, Bend-La Pine Schools’ officials drive routes throughout our district, consult with city, county and state road departments, and district snow removal crews regarding school buildings, sidewalk and parking lot conditions. With this in mind, inclement weather may cause school schedules to be adjusted as follows:

TWO-HOUR DELAY

School will start two hours late.

  • Elementary school – 11 a.m. start (No morning Kids Inc.)
  • Middle school - 9:45 a.m. start
  • High school – 9:45 a.m. start

Buses will run two hours later than normal schedule and will drive slowly, adjusting to conditions. Buses may be delayed getting to stops, as drivers are using caution and slowing down to drive to conditions. Families can check the location of their bus and its anticipated arrival time by using My Bus Stop.

Morning programs will be cancelled and limited breakfast may be served when student(s) arrive to school.

SCHOOL CLOSURE

When schools are closed for the day due to weather or emergency, the school building will not be used. Unless otherwise noted, all evening meetings and activities, including Kids Inc. are cancelled.

10-MINUTE EARLY RELEASE

Middle and high school students can be released 10-minutes early in order to give buses extra time to complete routes and for students to travel home. In this case, elementary students are generally released at the regular time. In some situations, an early release can be greater than 10-minutes to allow for local roadway conditions, congestion or to get ahead of a pending storm.

As a result of a 10-minute early release, afternoon/evening programs delivered by organizations at our schools may be cancelled. Now is a good time to check with after-care providers about their plans for student program(s) if our schools close early due to weather or other emergencies.



Air Quality

Wildfire smoke in our area may have an impact on students' outdoor activities. When wildfire smoke is in our area, we closely monitoring air quality and are in regular contact with our agency partners during wildfire season to help guide our decision making around school sponsored, student activities taking place outside.

Bend-La Pine Schools staff regularly monitor the Air Quality Index at the Bend Pump Station and do regular visual inspections of outside air quality to determine outdoor activity levels for students, per the Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Guidance for School Outdoor Activities During Wildfire Events.

Once school begins, decisions about outdoor activities, including sports, recess and PE will be made throughout the day, using the OHA guidelines mentioned above. Changes to OSAA-sanctioned high school game schedules will be posted on their website.

No news is good news and means air quality is acceptable for outdoor play.

Our high school Athletic Directors, Activities Directors, coaches and support staff communicate with families with students participating in OSAA activities regarding these health guidelines. Coaches will notify families if any changes are made to games or practice times and schedules. Decisions regarding games will be made daily as necessary.

Watch for symptoms

Wildfire smoke can make asthma symptoms worse. It can trigger asthma attacks. Symptoms of asthma include coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness. Even students without known asthma can have symptoms when exposed to unhealthy levels of wildfire smoke pollution.

Students with asthma should follow their Asthma Action Plan. This will help them decide if they need to take special precautions while engaging in outdoor activities. Athletes with asthma should have rescue inhalers readily available. Use should be as directed by their health care provider. Anyone experiencing symptoms should contact a health care provider. Call 911 in an emergency.

More information

  • For more information on how wildfire can affect your health, see the Oregon Public Health website
  • Consult with your local or tribal health authority if you have questions about air pollution and health.

What guidelines do you follow during wildfire events?

We use the Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Guidance for School Outdoor Activities During Wildfire Events to guide our decision making. You can download and view it here:

OHA_School_Outdoor_Activity_Wildfire_Fact_Sheet.png


Where can I find more information about fires and smoke in Central Oregon?

We follow the Central Oregon Fire Information blog for an ‘insiders look’ at what is happening in our region. This blog is cooperatively maintained and posted by those Central Oregon Agencies involved in emergency response, to serve the communities information needs.

We also regularly check into the Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Quality pages.

And we like these FAQ’s from the Department of Environmental Quality about how to read the Air Quality Index

How is Bend-La Pine Schools monitoring outdoor air quality?

District staff be monitoring DEQ’s current Air Quality Index readings regularly before and during the school day when smoke is present in the Bend, La Pine and Sunriver areas. If the current outside Air Quality Index at the DEQ Bend Pump Station registers as Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, Unhealthy or Very Unhealthy/Hazardous, building administrators will be contacted.

If readings register as Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, Unhealthy or Very Unhealthy/Hazardous, administrators will use the Oregon Health Authority's Public Health Guidance for School Outdoor Activities During Wildfire Events guidelines to make decisions about outdoor recess and/or PE.

For example, if the reading is ‘Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups’, PE activities for students sensitive to air pollution will be moved indoors. Other students’ activities will be limited to “light” or moved indoors. Rest periods will be increased and substitutions will be made. Symptoms will be monitored and activities will be reduced or ceased if symptoms arise.

The air quality station is in Bend, what if the air quality looks good in my area?

As our district covers more than 1,600 square miles and there is just one Air Quality Index measurement tool in our area, administrators and athletic directors are also encouraged to use the “5-3-1 Index,” in addition to the DEQ air quality index, for assessing air quality in their areas.

What changes will be made to athletics?

High school and middle school athletic directors will be monitoring air quality throughout the day and will make decisions about games and practices using the Oregon School Oregon School Activities Association guidelines.