School Closing Information

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

The Portland Public Schools close when it is unsafe for children to get to school due to the conditions of roads and sidewalks.  School closing decisions generally are made by 5:30 a.m.  They are announced on the school district’s website (, Facebook page (Portland ME Public Schools), Twitter (@PortlandPublic) automated calls to families and on local radio and television stations, including TV3. 

If schools are closed for the day, extracurricular activities usually are cancelled, too.  However, Portland Recreation may be open for participants of their before- and after-school program.  Please call the Recreation Information Hotline at 756-8130 for updates or check the Portland Recreation page on Facebook.

The district may delay the start of the day or dismiss students early due to inclement weather or specific issues in one or more buildings.  Notifications will occur in the same places as full-day cancellations.  Parents also will be notified of unexpected early releases through the district's automated calling system, so that parents can plan for picking up their children or arranging for them to have access to other care arrangements.

Every family needs a back-up plan for school closing days.  Please arrange for a neighbor, family member, friend or child-care provider to care for your child.  Be sure that your child’s school has a current phone number to reach you in case of emergency.  

School Closing Frequently Asked Questions

How are decisions made about whether to close school or to start late due to bad weather?
The Portland Superintendent of Schools monitors weather conditions closely whenever a major storm is approaching. The superintendent consults with the district’s transportation manager, the National Weather Service and superintendents from neighboring districts. The city’s police department, public works and recreation and facilities management staff provide updates about road conditions and plowing and shoveling of school parking lots and nearby sidewalks.

What happens if it starts snowing hard during the school day?
If the weather starts to deteriorate rapidly, the superintendent may dismiss middle school and high school students early. Buses will be ready to transport elementary students immediately at 3 p.m. In extreme weather, elementary schools may call parents and ask them to pick up students early. No elementary students will be dismissed before 3 p.m. without parental approval.

Are schools ever closed due to cold temperatures?
Schools rarely are closed unless extreme cold causes a building’s heating or water system to malfunction.

If school is called off, do extracurricular activities and Portland Adult Education classes take place?
In most cases, no, they will be cancelled, too. To confirm, please go to

Are school days made up?
The calendar for the Portland Public Schools is based on 180 school days per year. (That's five more days than required by state law.)  If the district falls short of that number, then the school year generally will be extended to reach 180 days.  For every snow day, a make-up day is scheduled for the end of the year.  Delayed starts count as school days so no make-up day is required.

What can parents do to prepare for school closings?
Make a back-up plan for where your child will go if school is not in session. Make sure they know the plan. Be sure that your child’s school has a number where you can be reached in case of emergency. On school days, be sure your child is dressed appropriately for the weather conditions.