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How Weather Decisions are Made

 

How is the decision made to close schools during bad weather?

Information about the weather is gathered from many sources, including The National Weather Service, Accu-Weather, the news media and by actual inspection of roads, school driveways, and sidewalks throughout the county. Weather conditions in surrounding counties are also gathered and factored into forecasting conditions for Montgomery County students and considered for those students attending non-public schools in other areas. Information from these various sources is factored into the decision.

Weather conditions or continuing impact from severe weather or other events such as a widespread power outage, may cause a delayed opening, early closing or closing for the day. The most severe conditions within the county are used as the basis for the decision-making criteria. A uniform procedure to close all schools is maintained so that the school system can respond quickly to emergency conditions and protect the safety and well being of students and staff who attend both public and non-public schools and receive transportation services from Montgomery County.

How do I find out if schools are closed or closing?

Learn more about how to receive MCPS Emergency Information By what time is the decision made to close schools, delay opening of schools, or close schools early?

Schools closed or delayed opening:

For early morning decisions, road inspection begins at 3:00 a.m. so that a decision can be announced by 5:00 a.m. through MCPS emergency information sources and media, such as radio, tv and websites.

Early dismissal:

All announcements will be made by 11:00 a.m.

More about school closure , delayed opening, and early dismissal 

The weather may be bad elsewhere in the county, but fine where I live. Why aren't the nearby schools in our zone open?

The decision to close schools because of weather (or other widespread situation impacting safety) is always for the entire system. MCPS buses transport 96,000 students every day, and of these, 16,000 students are transported to schools beyond their home school attendance area. To close by cluster or zone would mean students living in a less affected area might be unable to attend their school and vice-versa. This creates unequal access to the instructional programs and making sure each student receives the required days of instruction becomes difficult.

School must be accessible for all students to be given the ability to participate in instructional programs. In the case of non-public school closings for schools located outside of Montgomery County, the Department of Transportation works with schools on an individual basis to assure each student receives the required days of instruction. However, in the interest of the safety of all students and staff, whenever Montgomery County Schools are closed all transportation services to public and non-public schools is cancelled.

What about after-school and/or weekend activities?

After school activity cancellations will be announced in the same manner as regular school closings. The county's Interagency Coordinating Board for the use of public facilities makes weekend closing decisions. They can be contacted at 240-777-2706, or go to Montgomery County web site for information about cancellation of after-school or weekend activities.