Weather Cancellation Procedures

Be informed in the case of inclement weather or other emergency situations.

When bad weather or other emergency situations occur, it may be necessary for FCPS to cancel, delay, or close schools early. Parents and students should have a well-communicated plan in place in the event of these emergency situations. Children need to know where to go or what to do if a parent will not be home.

The safety of our students and staff is our number one priority any time a decision must be made regarding school closures and delays during a weather situation. We review information from emergency management and state highway administrators about road conditions, and school personnel also go out and inspect the conditions of roads, sidewalks, and FCPS parking lots and bus lanes.

In the case of emergency for a weather-related closing, delay, or early dismissal, the FCPS website will be updated first, and will automatically include an alert at the top of each page with the appropriate information (see sample alert below). This information will remain posted until normal operations have resumed, or you click "Close This Alert" to remove it. If you have closed the alert, a red exclamation mark will remain (highlighted by red circle below) to indicate that the alert is still active. 

 

Weather alert example

 

FCPS tries to make decisions in the evening, taking into account that parents need time to make proper arrangements. But when there is a lot of uncertainty, we wait to get the latest morning forecast. In that case, the superintendent makes the decision of whether to delay or close schools by approximately 4:30 a.m.

FCPS provides information about closings and delays in many ways including:

  • Posted to www.fcps.edu.
  • Posted to the FCPS Twitter and Facebook pages.
  • Email and text messages sent to parents (using the parent contact information listed in weCare@school). 
  • Email sent to employees (using the employee's FCPS email address).
  • Email sent to News You Choose subscribers of Delayed Openings and School Closings.
  • Posted on FCPS cable Channel 21 (Cox Communications, Reston Comcast, and Verizon (channel 11) cable customers only).
  • Area radio and television stations.

 Please be aware, due to the large volume of emails sent there will likely be a lag between the website, social media and news station updates and the receipt of an email in your inbox.    

Why doesn't FCPS close only those portions of the county that are most affected by the weather?

Students in various programs are transported all over the county each day. If only a portion of the school system were to close, students who live in the "closed" area may still need to get to schools that are open, and vice-versa. Buses are used numerous times every day for runs all over the county and a bus housed in a closed portion of the system may still need to be available to serve open schools. There are also many teachers and specialists who work in numerous buildings across the county.

Why do schools in states with more snowfall lose fewer days due to inclement weather?

Northern states have more snow clearing capability because of higher average snowfalls making them better equipped to deal quickly with winter weather. Since the D.C. metropolitan area seldom gets significant amounts of snow, it takes a little longer for the roadways to be cleared and made safe to transport our children.

Who is responsible for clearing sidewalks and plowing roads?

It is the responsibility of each individual building custodian to clear the sidewalks in front of the school. It is the responsibility of homeowners and businesses to clear the sidewalks in front of their properties. All roads, including major roads and neighborhood streets, are maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). To report unsafe conditions call the VDOT Northern Virginia District Office at 703-383-VDOT.