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Winter weather emergencies, such as snow and ice, may cause disruptions in school operations, including the closure of school, a delayed opening, or an early dismissal. The information below provides procedures used when such disruptions occur. Information also is provided about the weather contingency plan that would add student instructional days to the end of the scheduled school year if schools are closed for more than four days due to excessive weather emergencies.
Closure of School
When schools are closed system-wide, all instructional programs and extracurricular activities in schools are canceled. Private day care providers in school buildings (i.e. KidsCo) may elect to stay open if the schools are closed but the administrative offices are open. In extreme conditions, administrative offices also may be closed.
A delayed opening means that schools open two hours later than scheduled. For Little Bennett Elementary, this is 10:50 a.m. All buses operate on the same delayed schedule and, therefore, the pick-up times are two hours later than normal. When elementary schools open on a delayed schedule, the following programs are canceled: Head Start, pre-kindergarten, and other specialized programs or field trips scheduled before 12:00 noon. Parents should continue to check for 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 at 7:00 a.m.
An early dismissal means that schools will close 2.5 hours earlier than scheduled. For Little Bennett Elementary School, the early dismissal time is 12:35 p.m. All buses operate on that same early schedule and, therefore, drop-off times are 2.5 hours earlier than normal. When elementary schools close early, Head Start, pre-kindergarten, and other early childhood programs are canceled, as well as any special programs or field trips scheduled after 12:00 noon.
Lunch Schedules on Early Dismissal Days (No Recess for Students)
Delayed Opening Lunch Schedule (No Recess for Students)
Information about school operations is announced publicly as soon as possible on area radio and television stations, Cable Channel 60, County Cable Channel 6 or Cable Channel 34—MCPS TV, Outlook, on the Internet at www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org or at Schools-Out.Com, and on a taped telephone message service at 301-279-3673. Emergency e-mail announcements are available by signing up for MCPS QuickNotes on the school system’s home page. If schools are closed or delayed, the announcement is made no later than 6:00 a.m. (or the night before if possible). If schools are closing early, the announcements are made by 11:00 a.m.
Emergency Weather Contingency Plan
An emergency weather contingency plan will add student instructional days to the end of the scheduled school year if schools are closed more than four days because of weather emergencies. If schools are closed for more than four days due to weather emergencies, the following schedule would extend the school year in order to add the necessary make-up days:
- If schools are closed 5 days, the school year will be extended one day.
- If schools are closed 6 days, the school year will be extended two days.
- If schools are closed 7 days, the school year will be extended three days.
- If schools are closed 8 days, the school year will be extended four days.
- If schools are closed 9 days, the school year will be extended five days.
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 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 concerning 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.