Inclement Weather Procedures

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.

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 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.  If this occurs, private day-care programs located in school buildings are closed as well.

Delayed Opening

A delayed opening means that schools open two hours later than scheduled.  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—Morning sessions of half-day Head Start, prekindergarten, and other specialized programs or field trips scheduled before 10:30 a.m.; e.g., the Thomas Edison High School of Technology morning session.  Activities that begin after 10:30 a.m. will be held as scheduled.  Afternoon sessions of prekindergarten begin at the regular time.  Full day Head Start follows the same schedule as other full day programs.  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 (by 7:00 a.m.).

Early Dismissal

An early dismissal means that schools will close 2.5 hours earlier than scheduled.  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, afternoon prekindergarten and other early childhood programs are canceled, as well as any special programs or field trips scheduled after 10:30 a.m.  Morning prekindergarten and morning half-day Head Start students will be dismissed at 10:30 a.m.  Full day Head Start classes will dismiss with regular kindergarten through Grade 5 students.

Public Announcements

Information about school operations is announced publicly as soon as possible on area radio and television stations, Montgomery County Public Schools Cable TV (Comcast Channel 34, Verizon FIOS Channel 36, RCN Channel 89), Outlook, on the Internet at and on a recorded telephone message 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 by 5:00 a.m. (or the night before if possible).  If schools are closing early, the announcement is 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. 

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, Accu-Weather, 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.