girl reading to snowperson

In Salem, the summers are warm; the winters are very cold, snowy, and windy. The Winter season typically lasts four months, with an average daily high temperature below 45°F. Salem’s coldest months of the year are January and February, with an average low of 23°F and a high of 37°F.

School Closures or Delays Due to Inclement Weather

As winter approaches, we want to remind staff and families to be sure we have current contact information to reach you in the event that we have a cancellation or delay. Notifications will go out through ParentSquare via automated phone calls, texts, and emails. It will also be posted on our website, social media, and local TV channels. We do not have the option of remote instruction in the event of a closure.

School committee policy can be found here.

Eating, Recess & Outdoor Physical Activity

  1. When adequately clothed, elementary school-aged children can participate in safe, vigorous play in an outdoor environment in most weather conditions. Increased caution should be practiced when temperatures are below 30 degrees, including the wind chill factor.
  2. Students are kept indoors when temperatures fall below 20 degrees, including the wind chill (“feels like” temperature based on for zip code 01970.
  3. Students and parents should be informed each year of the school’s cold weather guidelines and reminders about the necessity of wearing appropriate clothing for cold weather activities. The parent/guardian is responsible for ensuring their children come to school dressed appropriately for the weather.
  4. Requests to stay indoors based on health reasons must be honored. In consultation with the principal, the parent and school nurse must work to determine a workable system for when the child should not participate in outdoor activities due to health.


We have seen winters in Salem have little to no snow, and we have seen winters with very large snowfalls

The school district will not close schools simply because of cold weather.

  • School buildings are warm, safe, and ideal for students when it is cold outside.
  • In rare instances, the superintendent may close schools for safety reasons due to a combination of cold weather, road conditions, and ice fog.
  • Parents may use their discretion about their students, but the day will count as an absence, and remote work is unavailable.

Students should dress appropriately for cold weather. The district urges students to wear winter hats, gloves, warm coats, and boots.

What is the Determination of School Closure Process?

The superintendent consults with various parties, including the City of Salem DPW, the Mayor, our transportation department, and the SPS Buildings and Grounds department. We also include the School Committee and Executive Team in the conversation. If we have to make the call, we aim to give notice the evening before, but sometimes an early morning decision is needed. Early morning updates will be communicated by 6:00 am. The call could be an announcement for:

  • no school (snow day)
  • 2-hour delay, early dismissal
  • or cancellation of extracurricular activities.

School days missed due to school closures will be made up at a later time during the school year.

If the superintendent decides to enact a school closure or a delayed start of school, communication with parents and staff begins.

Phone call
Text message
Website banner and popup
Social media

In the event that school is canceled or there is an early release, all after-school and outdoor program activities will be canceled unless otherwise noted in the communication.

Exceptions for school-sponsored activities may be made by the Superintendent due to extenuating circumstances. For example, weather and road conditions improve. (There could be an event that could result in the forfeiture or other extenuating circumstances). This decision would be made by noon and communicated to the appropriate administrator for that activity.