The warmth of summer will soon give way to fall with possible severe weather conditions ahead. Therefore, it is time to remind you of the delayed opening and school closing procedures for Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS).
When inclement weather causes hazardous road and walking conditions or extreme cold, schools may open late, close early, or close for the entire day, depending upon the severity of the weather.
These decisions are made based on Divisionwide conditions and weather forecasts, which may not necessarily reflect what you see in any given area of the county. However, we are focused on ensuring safety of the students, staff, and residents. If schools are open, but you consider local roads and sidewalks unsafe for travel, you have the option of not sending your child(ren) to school.
Students will receive an excused absence and will not be penalized academically, though they are
expected to make up all assignments.
PWCS transportation personnel monitor and travel both major and remote roads across the county.
This information is combined with input from weather forecasts, police, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and others to arrive at a decision that will ensure the safety of individuals across this large School Division. Safety is always the first priority in weather-related decisions. After opening and closing decisions are made, they are targeted for announcement by 5 a.m. They can be received in a number of ways.
Email: Subscribe to E-News at pwcsalerts.bbcportal.com.
Online: Check pwcs.edu and individual school Web sites which are quickly updated with the latest closing information.
Social Media: Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/PWCSNews or follow us on Twitter, twitter.com/pwcsnews.
Local Radio and TV: Stations make announcements and repeat delay and closing information regularly.
PWCS-TV Television: Announcements are made on PWCS-TV (Comcast channel 18 and Verizon channel 36).
Phone: Information may also be obtained by calling 703.791.2776 and selecting option number 3.
Mobile Devices: For high school information, download the MyPWCS app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play store to receive notifications on the go. Information for middle schools and elementary schools will available at a later date.
If weather conditions get worse after school starts, it may be necessary to close schools early.
Announcements will typically say that: “All Prince William County Public Schools will close one hour (or two hours) early today.”
All after-school student activities, athletic activities, and General Educational Development (GED) and Adult Education classes are generally cancelled when schools Divisionwide are closed or close early due to the weather. However, exceptions can be made, so please monitor email, pwcs.edu, your school’s Web site, and PWCS-TV for special announcements.
Delayed openings may sometimes be used to allow commuter traffic to clear and hazardous road conditions to improve before schools can open or so that officials can make a decision on closing them if conditions worsen.
Please note that:
Special instructions for School Age Child Care (SACC) and for preschool parents/guardians are attached.
Do not bring students to school early during a delayed opening; staff may also be late.
Since some parents/guardians and childcare providers may be unaware of early closings, it is advisable to designate another person to receive your preschool or elementary child at your child’s bus stop. Provide name(s) and telephone number(s) to the school. Preschool and kindergarten students will be returned to school unless designated individuals are at the bus stop to meet them.
Have a plan so children know what to do if they arrive home before anyone is there to meet them. Middle and high school students also need plans to ensure their safety.3
Please do not call your child’s school or PWCS offices during weather emergencies. The School Division telephone system is needed to attend to operational and emergency matters.
PWCS staff work hard to make school grounds safe after severe weather. You can help by ensuring your neighborhood sidewalks, walking paths, and bus stops are cleared so students will have a safe place to walk and wait, and so buses will have a clear route to safely pick up and drop off children.
Remember, the decision to change the school schedule is never made lightly.
If you have any questions concerning these procedures, please call the principal of the school your child attends prior to the inclement weather season.
Thank you for your cooperation and ongoing support.
Steven L. Walts
Superintendent of School