Inclement Weather Procedures
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If weather conditions pose a potential hazard to students, school officials may dismiss students early, delay the opening of schools or close schools for the day. If conditions require the closing or delayed opening of schools, decisions are usually made by 5 a.m. The most reliable sources of school closing information are the school system’s 24-hour information line and website. The 24-hour information line is 301-934-7410 or 301-932-6656. When possible, decisions are made the preceding evening. Charles County Public Schools also uses its notification system, School Messenger, to send email notifications and text message alerts to parents with a valid email address and an opted-in cell phone number from their child’s emergency notification card. Television and radio stations are also notified. CCPS does not use the phone call system to announce school closings or delays. However, in the event of a widespread power outage, CCPS may send phone call notification.
A delayed opening permits buses to operate under safer conditions after traffic has diminished and roads are salted and/or cleared. Buses run routes one or two hours later than scheduled. If there is a one-hour delayed opening, morning prekindergarten classes start one hour late. If schools open two hours late, morning prekindergarten classes are canceled.
If it is necessary to close schools during the day, local radio and television stations are notified and asked to make announcements, usually by 10:30 a.m. Morning prekindergarten students will remain at school, be served lunch (the cost to be reimbursed by parents), and will ride the bus or walk home at the scheduled dismissal time.
Prepare for Emergency School Closings
Decisions to close or delay the opening of schools are made as early as possible. Every effort is made to decide by 5 a.m. Once that decision is made, school officials record the information on the 24-hour information line, post it on the website, air the information on Comcast Channel 96 and Verizon FiOS Channel 12, and announce it through the Citizen Notification Service (CNS). Additionally, the school system notifies Washington metropolitan area radio and television stations. While we provide this information to the media, we do not have any control over how quickly, or if, radio or television stations announce the information. No announcements are made when schools are open.
When the weather is bad, the school system monitors road conditions and regularly contacts the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland State Police, state and county road departments, and the National Weather Service for road and weather assessments.
Early Dismissal / Delayed Opening
Parents should create an emergency plan for their children in the event weather conditions cause the early dismissal of schools. Go over that plan with your children so they know what to do if schools dismiss early. Devise plans for one-, two-, and three-hour early dismissals. We try to avoid early dismissals, but they are necessary when weather conditions threaten the safety of our students. Decisions to close early are usually made by 10:30 a.m. On early dismissal days, morning prekindergarten students remain at the school, receive lunch (to be reimbursed by parents) and ride or walk home at the scheduled dismissal time.
A delayed opening permits buses to operate under safer conditions after traffic has diminished and roads are salted and/or cleared. Buses start routes one or two hours later than scheduled. If there is a one-hour delayed opening, morning prekindergarten starts one hour late. If schools open two hours late, morning prekindergarten is canceled.
If schools are closed or dismiss early, all after-school activities/meetings are canceled. If schools remain open, but hazardous weather is predicted for later in the evening, afternoon activities may be allowed and evening activities may be canceled. Afternoon activities are those that end by 6 p.m. Evening activities begin at 6 p.m. or later.
Weather Varies Throughout the County
Weather conditions in one part of the county, such as icy or flooded roads, might cause a delayed opening or early closing even if the roads in your neighborhood appear safe. Charles County Public Schools operates as a system, and unless there is an isolated closing of one school, announcements are for all public schools in Charles County. The safety of our students and staff is our first priority.
If schools are closed, the AlphaBEST program at county elementary schools does not operate. If the opening of schools is delayed by one hour, the program opens at 7 a.m. If the opening of schools is delayed by two hours, the program opens at 8 a.m. If schools close early for the day by either one OR two hours, the AlphaBEST program at all schools will close at 4 p.m. Call 301-632-6804 for more information.
Maryland law requires schools to operate 180 days each school year. Four emergency closing days are built into the calendar for SY2021-22. If the days are not used, they will be deducted from the June closing date as follows: June 15, 14, 13, and 10. In the event the four days are used, the Board of Education can add instructional days to Spring break.