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; however, they do not always report the most reliable information.
CCPS does not use the phone call system to announce school closings or delays. However, in the event of a widespread power outage or school closure during the school day, CCPS may send phone call notifications.
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 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. Afternoon and evening meetings and activities are canceled if schools close early, or are closed for the day. If 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.
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 CCPS website, send an email and text message to parents and staff (text to those who have opted in) and announce it through the Citizen Notification Service (CNS). These are the most reliable sources of Charles County Public Schools information.
Additionally, the school system notifies Washington metropolitan area radio and television stations, which are listed on page 10 of the Parent Handbook/Calendar that is distributed to all students at the beginning of each school year. 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.
If schools remain open, no announcements are made. The CCPS office of communications coordinates inclement weather notifications for the school system. The right column of this page lists the ways CCPS sends notifications for school closures.
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.
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.
After School Activities
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.
Emergency Closings Affect the School Calendar
Maryland law requires schools to operate 180 days each school year. Four emergency closing days are built into the school calendar. If the days are not used, they will be deducted from the June closing date as follows: June 12, 11, 10 and 7. In the event the four days are used, the Board of Education can add instructional days to the end of the school year.
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, all programs will close by 4 p.m. or until the last child is picked up for the day. Call 301-632-6804 for more information.
How to Get School Closure News
Call the 24-hour information line at 301-934-7410 or 301-932-6655.
Check the website at www.ccboe.com
Provide a valid email address to your child's school to receive an email notification.
Follow us on Twitter @ccps
Check for Facebook updates at Charles County Public Schools
Text Messages from CCPS
Parents/guardians can opt-in to receive text message alerts from CCPS through School Messenger. Parents/guardians must have a cell phone number listed on their child's emergency notification card. To opt-in, text Y or YES to 67587. Users will then receive a confirmation text. Parents who change cell phone numbers during the school year must contact their child’s school to update their information. Text STOP to 67587 at any time to stop receiving text message alerts from CCPS. Standard text message rates by cell phone carriers apply. This feature is available only to parents and staff, as the system uses data included in CCPS records.
Notification by Charles County CNS
Receive free email and text message notifications from the Citizen Notification Service (CNS) to sign up. Select Charles County Public Schools notifications.
Notification by press release
We post a weather alert press release any time school status is affected by inclement weather. Subscribers receive our press releases by email the instant they are posted to our website. To subscribe, visit the Press Release page and enter your email address in the "Subscribe" box.