Inclement Weather Plans

Due to inclement weather or other emergency situations, it may be necessary to close schools for the entire day, to open schools two hours late, or to close two hours early. The procedures used in school closings are detailed below. Keep this information in a convenient location for future reference.

Parents are urged to make arrangements now for the care of their children when schedule changes are made (and to provide for the rare situation when it is necessary to close an individual school because of a power failure or other circumstances). Children should know where to go or what to do if a parent will not be or is not home.

Decisions on schedule changes are made after careful consideration of the best information available.  FCPS staff members consult with the following organizations when gathering information about potential or actual weather events:

  • National Weather Service (updated weather forecasts)
  • Virginia Department of Transportation (mobilization plans and status updates of road clearing efforts)
  • Fairfax County Emergency Operations Center (road conditions and accident reports)
  • Fairfax County Police Department (road condition reports)
  • FCPS security officers (on the road checking conditions at schools)
  • FCPS transportation staff (on the road checking road conditions throughout the county)
  • FCPS grounds department (responsible for clearing snow and ice from school parking lots)
  • Other school systems in the region (information sharing and plans for schedule changes)

Typically this information gathering begins by 2:30 a.m. so that we can meet the decision and notification time frames described below.  Unfortunately, the timing of many weather events is such that we have to make decisions based upon forecasts as the precipitation might not begin until later in the day.  While no sources dealing with weather predictions can be infallible, decisions are made with one overriding consideration—the safety of the students who ride buses, drive cars, or walk to school each day.  In fact, the school system’s greatest concern is about students who drive themselves and friends to school and students who walk to bus stops and schools, and not about students who ride school buses that are operated by highly trained and dedicated professional drivers.

FCPS has several schedules set up to deal with inclement weather.  These are put into effect when conditions threaten the safety of children and FCPS staff who are walking, driving, or riding buses to schools. These schedules are:

(1) Keep schools closed. (2) Open two hours late. (3) Close two hours early.


As soon as a decision is made to implement one of these changes, we post the information on FCPS cable Channel 21 and place the message on our web site - www.fcps.edu, Facebook and Twitter. E-mail notifications will be made through our Keep in Touch (KIT) system.  Parents, please make sure to have your contact information updated on your child’s emergency form at school.  Our KIT system pulls information from our Student Information System. Employees need to make sure their contact information is current in Uconnect.  For more information, please refer to http://www.fcps.edu/kit/ The news will also be carried by radio and television stations, which are notified as quickly as possible after a decision is made.  Please do not phone individual schools or one of the stations for this information.

We try to make a decision by 4:30 a.m. when schools will be closed all day or will open two hours late.  This gives us 30 minutes so that the public announcement can be posted and reach all media outlets by 5:00 a.m.
   On some occasions, it is not possible to make these time frames as weather can change unexpectedly.  On some other occasions, the school system has been able to make a scheduling decision the day before so that parents, staff members, and students know what will happen the following day. This usually happens when precipitation is already on the ground and the temperatures are such that the precipitation on the ground is frozen or will refreeze.

When schools are closed for the day, the following will apply:

  • Extracurricular activities, interscholastic contests, team practices, field trips, middle school after-school programs. adult and community education classes, professional learning and training courses, and recreation programs in schools and on school grounds are canceled.
  • School Age Child Care (SACC) centers are closed.

When schools open two hours late, the following will apply:

  • Offices will open on time.
  • Morning preschool (special education) classes are canceled. Full-day preschool (special education) and Family and Early Childhood Education (Head Start) classes start two hours later than the regular schedule. Afternoon preschool (special education) starts on the regular Tuesday-through-Friday schedule.
  • Morning field trips are canceled.
  • SACC centers will open by 7:15 a.m.
  • Adult and community education classes will start on time.

When schools are closed two hours early due to worsening weather conditions during the day, the following will apply:

  • The announcement will be made by 10:30 a.m. whenever possible.
  • Elementary schools will close two hours earlier than the usual Tuesday through Friday time.
  • Morning preschool (special education) and Family and Early Childhood Education (Head Start) programs are dismissed at approximately 11 a.m. Full-day preschool (special education) and Family and Early Childhood Education (Head Start) classes are dismissed two hours earlier than the regular schedule. Afternoon preschool (special education) and Family and Early Childhood Education (Head Start) classes are canceled.
  • SACC centers will stay open until 6:15 p.m.
  • Extracurricular activities, interscholastic contests, team practices, field trips, middle school after-school programs. adult and community education classes, professional learning and training courses, and recreation programs in schools and on school grounds are canceled.

Resources

 

Webpage Curator

Nancy Moy
nhmoy@fcps.edu

Last Updated

July 24, 2014