Area Schools Closing in Face of Weather Threat

Area Schools Closing in Face of Weather Threat

Threat of flooding, high winds from Hurricane Sandy prompts decision.

Alexandria City Schools Closed

From http://www.acps.k...

All Schools and Offices are closed tomorrow, Monday, Oct. 29. Alexandria City has declared a state of emergency due to expected weather conditions. All activities are also cancelled tomorrow. Employees should adhere to a Code RED as listed in ACPS emergency closing procedures.

For additional information, call the ACPS Hotline at 703-866-5300 or visit www.acps.k12.va.u...

Click here to register for Alexandria City Public Schools email announcements.

Arlington Public Schools

From http://www.arlington.k12.va.us

All APS Schools and Offices will be closed on Monday, Oct. 29. All activities in schools and on school grounds are also cancelled for Monday. Employees deemed essential through the APS Facilities & Operations Department should report to work.

Visit Arlington Public School's website for further updates.

Montgomery County Schools Closed

From http://www.montgo...

Montgomery County Public Schools will be closed on Monday, Oct. 29 and Tuesday, Oct. 30, due to emergency weather conditions. All school and community activities in school buildings are canceled. Administrative offices are closed Monday, Oct. 29.

Click here to register for MCPS emergency alerts.

— Better safe than sorry.

Based on that philosophy, Fairfax County Public Schools announced early Sunday afternoon that all FCPS schools will be closed Monday and Tuesday because of the continuing threat of flooding and hurricane-force winds from Hurricane Sandy, a “rare hybrid storm” expected to make landfall on Monday.

According to reports from the National Weather Service on Sunday, Hurricane Sandy continues to move parallel to the East Coast, with a turn to the northwest expected tonight and landfall along the central New Jersey coast Monday evening.

In addition to long periods of sustained tropical storm-force winds, the storm will slam Fairfax County with heavy rain and the threat of flooding through Tuesday.

Based on these factors, Superintendent Jack Dale made the decision to close schools, all extracurricular activities and the School Age Child Care (SACC) centers early Sunday afternoon.

“Fairfax County Public Schools is aware of the implications of opening school during less than perfect conditions and of delaying or closing schools when poor weather conditions exist or are predicted,” said Dale on the FCPS website.

FCPS offices will also be closed on Monday, and a decision about re-opening the offices will be made on Monday afternoon, according to an FCPS news release.

The following activities in schools and on school grounds also will be canceled on Monday and Tuesday:

  • interscholastic contests
  • team practices
  • field trips
  • middle school after-school programs
  • professional learning and training courses
  • all adult and community education classes
  • recreation programs and community use by outside groups not affiliated with FCPS

The decision to shut down the public schools is often met with criticism. On the FCPS home page – www.fcps.edu – Fairfax County outlines its policies and includes a “frequently asked questions” section on how, why and when school-closing decisions are made.

ONE KEY FACTOR is the fact that Fairfax County encompasses approximately 400 square miles, and the weather, and road conditions, can vary significantly in different parts of the county. Fairfax County’s transportation system includes high speed, high volume roadways such as Route 66, Route 495, Route 95, the Fairfax County Parkway, and others. The county’s transportation system also includes narrow, winding roads in still relatively rural parts of the county such as Clifton and Great Falls.

While the western and northern parts of the county usually have colder temperatures --- and typically the worst conditions --- sometimes the reverse is true. Often the major roadways are in good driving condition, but neighborhood roads remain treacherous.

FCPS “makes every effort” to make decisions to delay opening or to not open schools by 4:30 a.m. Once a decision is made by the superintendent, it takes approximately 30 minutes to complete notifying local media, updating the school system web page, the school system television channel, sending Keep in Touch e-mail and SMS messages, and posting to Facebook and Twitter.

For more information on emergency closing announcements, visit http://www.fcps.edu/news/emerg.shtml