Emergency Closing Information

When a storm brings snow, ice, freezing rain, flooding or other hazardous conditions to Frederick County or an emergency situation occurs, care for safety may necessitate closing schools, dismissing early or opening them later than usual in the morning.

When the Decision Is Made

If weather conditions occur that make it obvious our schools will not be able to operate the following day, an announcement for the next day is sent out on the FCPS Rapid Communications System and is communicated to radio and television stations. If the situation is uncertain or a storm develops during the night, the decision is not made and announced until early the following morning. A decision for the county must be made no later than 5:30 a.m. in order for announcements to be made in a timely manner.

How the Decision Is Made

The assistant superintendent for administration, director of transportation and other transportation employees check weather and road conditions in different sections of the county. They also coordinate with the highway department, public safety officials and each other. In addition, school officials take a firsthand look by driving some county school-bus routes. The next step may involve checking with other school superintendents, particularly those in Winchester City, Clarke, Shenandoah, and Warren counties. Finally, a recommendation from the assistant superintendent for administration and the director of transportation is presented to the superintendent, and a final decision is made.

Lines of Communication

After a decision to close school or delay opening is made, an announcement is sent out on the FCPS Rapid Communications System and is communicated to the radio and TV stations listed below:

Radio Station Call List
  • WINC 92.5 FM/1400 AM
  • WUSQ 102.5 FM/WFQX 99.3 FM
  • WZRV 95.3 FM/WFTR1450 AM
  • WKMZ 97.5 FM/WEPM 1340 AM
  • WYII 95.9 FM
  • WRNR 740 AM
  • WSIG 96.9 FM
  • WBOP 106.3 FM
  • WFTX 610 AM
TV Station Call List
  • Cable Channel 18
  • WHSV Harrisonburg
  • Channel 25 Hagerstown
  • Channel 99 (WAZT)
  • Channel 4 (WRC-TV)
  • Channel 5 (WTTG-TV)
  • Channel 7(WJLA-ABC7)
  • Channel 9 (WUSA TV9)
The decision will be broadcast shortly after the station is called. In addition, Frederick County Public Schools’ information line at 540-722-6443 or 540-662-3889, ext. 6, and Cable Channel 18 will have information on emergency school closings.

Additionally, the information may be accessed by going to the Frederick County Public Schools website and the Frederick County Schools Facebook page.

It is important that parents and students not telephone the stations for information about school closings. Such efforts may block delivery of the very information the individual wishes to obtain by preventing a call from a school official with the announcement.

Learning to Continue on Inclement Weather Days

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a significant change to emergency closing procedures for the 2020-21 school year. In the event inclement weather forces schools to open late or close, all students (both hybrid and all distance) will be expected to participate in distance learning experiences and any online classes offered to them on designated school days. This change will provide students with greater consistency in learning and also help the school division meet the required number of instructional hours for students without having to extend the school year or further alter the 2020-21 School Calendar.

One-hour Delay

One-hour delays will not be used during the 2020-21 school year.

Two-hour Delay

In the event of a two-hour delay, the following schedule will be utilized.

Hybrid Students Scheduled to Attend School Hybrid Students Not Scheduled to Attend School All Distance Students
Report to school two hours late. (ES- 11:00 a.m., MS and HS- 10:00 a.m.) Do not report to school. Complete online assignments as normal. Any required online instruction begins at 11:00 a.m. for ES and 10:00 a.m. for MS and HS. (follow specific school schedule) Do not report to school. Complete online assignments as normal. Any required online instruction begins at 11:00 a.m. for ES and 10:00 a.m. for MS and HS. (follow specific school schedule)

Schools Closed

In the event schools are closed, the following schedule will be utilized.

Hybrid Students Scheduled to Attend School Hybrid Students Not Scheduled to Attend School All Distance Students
Do not report to school. Complete online assignments as normal. Online instruction begins at 10:00 a.m. (follow specific school schedule) Do not report to school. Complete online assignments as normal. Any required online instruction begins at 10:00 a.m. (follow specific school schedule) Do not report to school. Complete online assignments as normal. Online instruction begins at 10:00 a.m. (follow specific school schedule)

Early Dismissal

A storm can develop or conditions can become hazardous at any time necessitating an early closing. If this occurs, the dismissal time will be announced and all instruction, both in-person and virtual, will end at the announced dismissal time. All students are expected to continue completing online assignments as required by their teachers.

Emergency Division Closure

In the event severe inclement weather results in the Superintendent closing all schools, school offices and the school division’s administrative offices, all instruction will be suspended for that day.

Differing Road Conditions

The condition of relatively narrow secondary roads bears heavily on the decision to close schools as well as to reopen them. Sometimes patrons ask why schools are not in session after students have been out a day or two and roads in Winchester and the suburbs are clear. The decision for the entire school system is made in relation to the condition of all roads in Frederick County. Many times city and suburban streets are in good condition for travel, but some secondary roads remain icy and very dangerous.

Frederick County has approximately 650 miles of highways. This includes 26 miles of I-81, 101 miles of primary highways, and 523 miles of secondary roads, including 172 miles of unpaved roads. The heavily traveled routes (I-81, Rt. 37, and U.S. 11, 50, and 522) are always cleared prior to secondary roads.

Emergency Snow Routes

If icy conditions persist, it may be necessary to operate schools and have reduced bus routes. If this occurs, the radio announcement will state that buses will operate on the emergency snow routes. Parents on roads where buses will not operate should get their children to the location designated on the emergency snow routes until the bus can resume its regular route. This information will be sent to parents living on the emergency snow routes.

Inclement Weather Days in School Calendar

The revised 2020-21 school calendar adopted by the School Board on December 15, 2020, has 180 student days and moved the last day of school from June 18, 2021, to June 15, 2021. Certain days missed due to inclement weather will be distance learning (virtual) school days as determined and communicated by central office administration. In the event the superintendent has to implement an emergency closure, days may have to be added to the end of the school year to be in compliance with state code. Five inclement weather days (June 16, 17, 18, 21 and 22) may be added to the end of the school year, if needed.

Concern for Safety

Any decision about closing schools is made with safety of the students as the primary concern.