SPOKANE, Wash.- With the extreme winter weather that has engulfed the State of Washington earlier this year, many school districts delay the start of school or cancel school altogether. For Spokane Public Schools, the decision to delay school takes more then a forecast.

According to Brian Coddington, Spokane Public Schools Director of Community Relations and Communications, SPS has a team of staff members that work together to make the decision. 

The procedure is as follows:

SPS watches local weather forecasts and predictions for weather conditions. While maintaining close contact with the City of Spokane, the school district follows updates on the full-city plow plan and snow maintain.

Overnight, the district's weather team physically monitors road and weather conditions by driving through arterials and residential areas. They periodically check on weather reports for updated predictions and forecasts for in the morning.

At 4:30 a.m. the team meets up and decides either to cancel school, or more commonly have a delayed start. However, there are several other factors considered besides weather.

The school district takes into consideration the children that rely on the district's before-school and after-school programs, and the free or reduced lunch/breakfast program.

Spokane Public School has a high population of children that rely on these programs for two of their meals for the day, and a warm place to stay in the morning and afternoons.

The cancellation of school for the day, means a cancellation of these programs. While the delay of school means a delay in the start of before-school programs, and children on the free or reduced lunch programs still receive one or two meals.

Once Spokane Public Schools takes into consideration all of these factors, the school district sends out a public message by 6:30 a.m. SPS sends out emails, calls, and social media posts with the status of school operations.

For an updated list of all schools, including Spokane Public Schools, that will be closed or have a delayed start follow this link on KHQ.