|On snowy winter mornings students of all ages across Stafford County may ask this question. How will Stafford County Schools determine whether schools will be closed or delayed? The answer results from many hours of assessment by Stafford County Public School staff.
Stafford County Public Schools Policy 5906 states “The superintendent/designee may order the closing, a delay in opening, or the early dismissal of any or all schools in order to protect the safety and welfare of the students and staff."
Often we are asked, “how did you make the decision to close or not to close schools today?” The process involves many staff members and community organizations. On mornings when inclement weather (snow, ice, rain, hurricanes, etc) is expected or is a possibility, the Stafford County Public Schools’ weather operations center opens.
At 4:00 a.m. the inclement weather operations center opens.
- The Sheriff’s Office and VDOT are contacted for updates on current road conditions and any particular areas of concern.
- The weather operations center staff monitors weather forecasts through a variety of weather sites and contacts other school divisions to determine their opening, closing or delay status.
- The five-member road assessment team drives assigned routes throughout the county determining road conditions and hazards for bus drivers. They are on the road between 4:00 and 5:00 a.m. checking road conditions, school driveways and parking lots. They communicate the road conditions in their sectors to the weather operations center.
- By 5:15 a.m. the weather operations center staff forms an initial recommendation to open, close, or delay the opening of school and relays this recommendation to the superintendent.
- By 5:30 a.m. the superintendent makes the final decision regarding opening of schools.
At 5:30 a.m. the following steps are taken:
- The decision to close or delay opening of schools is relayed to a number of radio and television stations in the Fredericksburg, Richmond and Metro DC areas.
- The information is posted on the School website at www.staffordschools.net and on the central office voice mail system at 658-6698.
- The information is shared with SchoolsOut.com.
- The information is shared with the Stafford County Alert Email System Staffordalert.com.
- If the decision is to delay the opening of school, the road assessment team continues to check the road conditions. The weather operations center staff continues to monitor weather forecast information and to check with other school divisions on their final decision for opening schools.
- The road assessment team reports to the weather operations center by 7:15 a.m. and a final recommendation is made to the superintendent for maintaining the delayed opening or for closing for the day.
WHERE TO FIND SCHOOL CLOSING ANNOUNCEMENTS
All local radio and television stations are informed of school closings and delays.
Families may wish to check with several media sources to verify closing information.
The Stafford Schools’ website at www.staffordschools.net posts the information as soon as the decision is made. (Remember to “Refresh” or “Reload” each time you visit the site!) Also, the Free-Lance Star’s website at www.fredericksburg.com also posts the closings and delays.
WFLS - 93.3
WBQB - 101.5
WGRQ - 95.9
WTOP - 103.5 & 107.7
95.9 & 104.5
WFVA - 1230
WJLA - CH 7 ABC
WRC - CH 4 NBC
WTTG - CH 5 FOX
WUSA - CH 9 CBS
WTVR - CH 6 CBS
WWBT - CH 12 NBC
Comcast Channel 18
Cox Channel 18
Verizon Fios Channel 38
or call 540-658-6698
Stafford County joined School’s Out to provide email notifications to parents and the community. School's Out can distribute closing and delay information to the public regarding Stafford Schools during Snowstorms, hurricanes, wind and ice storms, floods, power failures, and even heating and air conditioning failures. School employees directly update the School’s Out site and information flows immediately to registered email accounts. If you would like to have email or cell phone notifications, go to www.schoolsout.com
Stafford County’s alert system is another avenue for receiving emergency notifications from the schools and from other Stafford County agencies. Go to www.staffordalert.com
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Should the school year fall below the required instructional days or hours, the difference will be made by converting the following current non-school days to school days:
April 3, May 22, June 10
June 15 & 16 - added
2014-2015 School Year Closings and Delays Due to Inclement Weather
Extreme Cold Temperatures
||Code 2 - Administrative Offices Opened at 10:00 a.m.
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Driving In Inclement Weather: Is Your Student Ready?
Road conditions may not be appropriate for inexperienced drivers during inclement weather. Parents should determine whether their student drivers have the experience to drive in certain road conditions. The school division’s decision to close or delay school is based on the ability of our professional school bus drivers to safely transport students to and from school.
School administrators and parents are to be aware that School Board Policy allows parents the option of not sending their child to school during inclement weather when, in the parent’s judgment, conditions in their neighborhood are unsafe. In such cases, upon notification by the parent, the student will receive an excused absence. The student will be required to make up any work missed.