Dear Parents and Guardians:
Winter weather emergencies, such as snow and ice, may cause disruptions in school operations, including school closings, delayed openings, or early dismissals. This letter provides information about the procedures used when such disruptions occur. Also, information is provided about the weather contingency plan that would provide for makeup instructional days if the school year is disrupted by emergencies and schools are closed three or more days.
When schools are closed system wide, all instructional programs and extracurricular activities in schools are cancelled. Private child-care providers in school buildings may elect to stay open if schools are closed but administrative offices are open. In extreme conditions, administrative offices also may be closed. If this occurs, private child-care programs located in school buildings are closed as well.
A delayed opening means that schools open 2 hours later than scheduled. All school buses operate on the same delayed schedule, and therefore, the pick-up times are 2 hours later than normal. When elementary schools open on a delayed schedule, the following programs are cancelled-morning sessions of Head Start, prekindergarten, and other specialized programs or field trips scheduled before 10:50 a.m. (e.g., the Thomas Edison High School of Technology morning session). Activities that begin after 10:50 a.m. will be held as scheduled. Afternoon sessions of prekindergarten begin at the regular time. Parents/guardians should continue to check radio, television, or web announcements in the event a decision to delay the opening of schools is reconsidered and a decision to close schools for the day is made (by 7:00 a.m.).
An early dismissal means that schools will close 2.5 hours earlier than scheduled. All school buses operate on that same early schedule, and therefore, drop-off times are 2.5 hours earlier than normal. When elementary schools close early, afternoon prekindergarten and other early childhood programs are cancelled, as well as any special programs or field trips scheduled after 10:50 a.m. Morning prekindergarten and morning half-day Head Start students will be dismissed at 10:50 a.m.
Information about school operations is announced publicly as soon as possible on area radio and television stations, MCPS TV (Comcast Channel 34/998, Verizon Channel 36, and RCN Channel 89), on the Internet at www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org, through the myMCPS mobile app, and on a recorded telephone message at 301-279-3673. Emergency announcements are available by signing up for Alert MCPS text and e-mail notifications and on the MCPS Outlook, Twitter, and
Facebook accounts. If schools are closed or delayed, the announcement is made no later than 5:00 a.m. (or the night before if possible). If schools are closing early, the announcement is made by 11:00 a.m.
Emergency Weather Contingency Plan
The current school year for students ends on Monday, June 15, 2020. However, an emergency weather contingency plan will add makeup instructional days if the school year is disrupted by weather emergencies and schools are closed three or more days. The first makeup instructional day will be used on June 16, 2019. Other dates in 2020 identified as possible makeup instructional days include: January 27, April 6 and 7, and June 17-22.
Weather Conditions and Decisions
The school system uses a variety of sources of information to determine whether to close schools, delay the opening of schools, or dismiss schools early. These sources include actual physical inspection of road and school conditions by transportation officials and other staff at areas throughout the county and an analysis of independent reports from the National Weather Service, Accu-Weather, and the news media. The most severe weather conditions within the county are used as the basis for decision making. Consistent procedures are maintained in order to respond quickly to emergency weather conditions and protect the safety and well-being of students.
All public schools within Montgomery County adhere to the same schedule relating to emergency weather conditions. The decision to change school operations is made by the superintendent of schools or his designee and affects all schools within the school system.
Travis J. Wiebe