Weather Delays and Closings
Occasionally, inclement weather and other safety or health conditions require FCPS to close, delay opening or dismiss early.
Closing and delay decisions involve careful evaluation of a variety of factors in a short time period. Whenever possible, decisions are made by 5 a.m. for morning closings and delays (with communications by 5:30 a.m. posted on the web, FCPS TV channel 18, and via FindOutFirst to Facebook and Twitter) and by 10 a.m. for early closings, announced soon after.
Email and text message delivery typically take longer than the FOF posts to Facebook and Twitter take, though the FCPS FindOutFirst service publishes them all--email, texts, Facebook and Twitter content--at the same time. Notification on other media's stations may be later; always check to see that the reference on other media is to FCPS MARYLAND, as there is also a Frederick County Public Schools district in Virginia!
Because weather can change quickly and forecasts aren't always certain, it's rarely possible to determine delays or closings the night before. But we always make the decision as soon as we can be sure of the weather and travel conditions, and we begin communicating the decision right away.
FCPS doesn't usually announce that schools are open or operating on schedule, only that they are closed, delayed or dismissing early. If we haven't announced otherwise, schools are open on time.
Regardless of what FCPS decides, if you believe weather conditions are hazardous or unsafe, you have the right to keep your child home from school. Student absences because of hazardous weather conditions are lawful and excused.
How to Find Out
FCPS notifies about 30 local and regional TV and radio stations plus our own media outlets about systemwide school delays and closings. It is not possible to guarantee that the news media will announce this information promptly or accurately. For the fastest, most reliable information, check the following:
- Social Media: FCPS on Twitter and FCPS on Facebook (usually posted via FindOutFirst)
- Email/Text Messages: FindOutFirst email and emergency-only text messages (published the same time as the Facebook and Twitter notices)
- FCPS TV: Comcast Channel 18 (Frederick area)
Note: FCPS social media and fcps.org are the fastest ways to get emergency notices. Email and text notices can take longer because of the volume of messages that require acceptance from a wide variety of Internet Service Providers.
All FindOutFirst (FOF) emergency notices come from FCPS Public Affairs Department. Emergencies include schools closing due to weather, power outages or the like. SMS text messages are sent only when schools are unexpectedly closing. [FOF does not typically send immediate email about lockdowns, most of which are precautionary and brief.] The FOF profile must indicate the child's school to get news of emergencies pertaining only to that school.
Plan Back-up Care For safety reasons, pre-arrange emergency back-up care for your child in the event that schools close unexpectedly. Teach your child what to do in case you are not at home when school closes, and provide the school with the name and number of someone nearby who is usually available when you are not at home.
On Non-School Days When the Snow Emergency Plan is in effect in Frederick County on non-school days, all FCPS programs and activities are canceled. Monitor local radio stations for Snow Emergency Plan status or visit the Maryland Department of Transportation website.
Half-Day PreKindergarten Schedule* On days when school opens 2 hours late, morning and afternoon half-day pre-k* students attend 1½-hour sessions. Breakfast is served in morning classes, which start 2 hours late and dismiss 1 hour later than usual. Afternoon classes start 1 hour late and dismiss at the regular time.
Career & Technology Center When schools countywide open 2 hours late for inclement weather, morning CTC classes start 2 hours late and dismiss about 1 hour later than usual. Afternoon sessions start 40 minutes later than usual and dismiss at the regular time.
Early Dismissal When schools close 2 hours early due to inclement weather, morning half-day pre-k* students remain at school for dismissal with full-day students. Lunches are served. Afternoon half-day pre-k* and CTC programs are canceled; CTC students remain at their home schools. Flexible Evening HS and Heather Ridge Twilight programs are canceled.
When schools close 3 to 3.5 hours early due to inclement weather, morning half-day pre-k* students remain at school for dismissal with full-day students, morning CTC students follow normal schedules, afternoon pre-k*, CTC, Flexible Evening HS and Heather Ridge Twilight programs are canceled.
After-School and Weekend Activities Generally, when schools are closed due to inclement weather, school-sponsored after-school and evening activities are canceled or postponed. On non-school days when the Snow Emergency Plan is in effect in Frederick County, all FCPS programs and activities are canceled or postponed. To find out if the plan is in effect, please monitor local radio stations or visit the Maryland Department of Transportation website.
Lunches When Schools Are Closed 3 Days in a Row During inclement weather events some of our students lack access to meals. Read more about our Emergency Lunches Protocol.
Learning @ Home
In order to minimize additional days at the end of the school year, and to keep students connected to learning, FCPS has introduced Learning @ Home Days (los Días de Apprendizaje en Casa) as a potential alternative to traditional snow days. On days when we know well in advance that inclement weather will hamper travel and cause significant disruptions, FCPS can choose to use a Learning @ Home Day.
Assignments can be completed on your family’s schedule with academic support available via phone and Google Meet. Assignments will be available with or without the use of technology. If power outages occur, additional time for assignment completion can be implemented.
When Learning @ Home Days are implemented, an additional day will not be added on to the end of the school year. This makes our end-of-year schedule far more predictable and it keeps students connected to learning during the winter months.
If we have confidence that a significant winter storm is on its way and will disrupt travel, we could announce a Learning @ Home Day in advance. This would give schools an opportunity to ensure all students have the materials they need to access learning. Schools will also ensure directions are provided for accessing assignments and receiving optional academic support as needed.
We would not implement a Learning @ Home Day if we believe weather conditions could allow the potential of a school day to take place. Our community will receive notice of the possibility of a Learning @ Home Day implementation at least one day prior to an anticipated storm.
- How FCPS Decides to Cancel, Delay or Dismiss School Early
- Snow Emergency Information Flier: In the event of bad weather or emergency situation
- Regulation 400-02 Closing of Schools Because of Weather, Maintenance or Other Reasons
* PreK references do not apply to charter schools.