It is extremely important that your child knows exactly what to do in an emergency closing of the school. Please have procedures put into place so that your child knows where to go. It is also important that when bad weather is being called for, you plan ahead and listen to a local Hagerstown radio or television station for delayed openings or cancellations. We have had many children still showing up to school on a 2 hour delay before the scheduled start time. Usually, the delayed calls and / or cancellations occur around 5:30-5:45 AM. You can also sign up for an "Alert Now" text message and telephone calls.
When a two-hour delay is called, there will be NO a.m. or p.m. pre-kindergarten. If school is dismissed two hours early, the a.m. pre-kindergarten students will stay until dismissal and ride the bus home with the other students. There will be no p.m. pre-kindergarten in the case of an early dismissal.
General Process for School Delay or Closure Decisions for Inclement Weather or Other Emergencies: Inclement Weather On inclement weather days, including snow, ice, or flooding conditions, WCPS transportation director and staff travel designated inclement weather routes that are representative of some of the critical areas for safe school bus travel throughout the county. During the inclement weather routes, the director of transportation communicates with the county roads department, state highway administration, and other surrounding counties’ school directors of transportation as to the conditions in the neighboring areas. After reviewing local information and the DTN Satellite Weather Service information, the director of transportation contacts the superintendent to recommend changes in school status, as needed. Final determination is normally made prior to 5:30 a.m. with media notifications occurring prior to 6 a.m. Depending on specific weather situations, the timeline may be earlier or later. The primary consideration for delay or closure decisions is the safety of students traveling to and from school.
Zone Closing Options: Since the 2001-2002 school year, WCPS has implemented two specific weather zones. The two zones are the Hancock Weather Zone and the Cascade Weather Zone. These areas typically experience greater inclement weather than the majority of the county. These zones may be delayed or closed separately from the rest of the county.
The Cascade Zone is defined as being the attendance area for Cascade Elementary School. Students who live in the Cascade Elementary attendance area and attend Cascade Elementary, Smithsburg Middle School or Smithsburg High School will follow any schedule changes that apply to the Cascade Zone. Students who live in the Old Forge Elementary, Smithsburg Elementary and Greenbrier Elementary attendance areas and attend one of these elementary schools, or Smithsburg Middle or Smithsburg High School are NOT included in the Cascade Zone. More specific information, including a road list in the Cascade Zone, is included in a 3-page PDFHERE. The Hancock Zone is defined as being the attendance area for Hancock Elementary School and Hancock Middle/Senior High School.
Other Emergencies: In addition to school delays or closings due to inclement weather, including snow, ice, flooding, or heat, the superintendent may determine the need to close a school, schools, or the school system based on other emerging situations (power outages, etc.). In the event of a school closing or delay, parent notification will occur using area media and the school system's website.
Notification Outlets: Parents and staff should monitor the following notification outlets for information about school closings or delays. In case of a break-down in the communication plan due to power outages or other technical difficulties, parents and staff should familiarize themselves with more than one source for this information.