School system reminds parents of weather policy
CENTREVILLE — With the increasing frequency and potential for inclement weather, Queen Anne’s County Public Schools has issued the following reminders. The decision to delay the opening or closing of schools will be made prior to 4:50 a.m. the morning of the inclement weather and will continue to be monitored for a possible later decision.
The decision to close or delay school will be announced on SchoolsOut. com, the QACPS website, on the Board of Education Facebook page, and a message is placed on the phone system at the Board of Education. Delays and closings will also be broadcast over radio stations: WBAL, WCBM, WCEI, WCTR, WNAV, WINX, WSCL, WXCY and TV channels: 2, 11, 13 and 16. In cases of inclement weather such as ice, snow, flooding or fog, it should be noted that certain areas of the county can have worse conditions than others, school officials said.
For 12-month employee use only, Code Red: Stay In Bed. Do not come in. Code Blue: Up To You. You have the option to use a liberal leave day.
Sid Pinder, director of operations for QACPS, advised decisions on delays or closings for fog or other types of inclement weather are made after consultation with law enforcement, weather spotters, staff input and weather reports.
“While making a decision to have a 90-minute delayed opening, dismissing early, or closing for the day due to inclement weather is never easy, the QACPS Transportation Department analyzes the conditions to make the most appropriate decision for the safety of students and staf f,” said Pinder.
Additional factors to be taken into consideration are the timeliness of (county) Public Works, Centreville Public Works, and Parks and Recreation coming out to begin their snow removal and home and business owner’s ability to remove snow from sidewalks, said Pinder. QACPS also must take into account the 466 high school students that drive to school.
Schools are not closed or delayed in “zones” for transportation reasons, Pinder said. Currently the 371.9 square miles — which stretches from the Chesapeake Bay to the Delaware line — is covered by 89 buses that operate on a 2-Tier busing system. Additionally transportation to career and technology classes off-site must be considered. Additional buses need to be purchased and more drivers hired, said Pinder in his November report to the school board.
When there is a delayed opening, all buses will run regular routes 90 minutes later than the regularly scheduled time. When there is a delayed opening, AM (morning) pre-kindergarten will not be in session. PM (afternoon) pre-kindergarten buses will run at their regularly scheduled times. On days that school is dismissed early due to inclement weather, the same procedure is followed as for the closing of school.
Closings due to emergencies, such as lack of water, electric or heat, will be decided jointly by the school administrator and the superintendent.
The School Delay and Closing Committee meets in May to discuss procedures and make changes if necessary. Members include parents, contracted bus drivers, principals, a board member and representatives from the Maryland State Police, Sheriff’s Office and Centreville Police, QACPS supervisor of transportation and director of operations.
Snow that fell overnight was mostly gone mid-morning, Jan. 30, although some patches remained in shaded areas. Schools had a delayed opening