Spotlights
Making the call: How BCPS makes weather-related closing decisions
01/22/2016

Spotlight
Video

Making the call on weather-related closures is always tough, but ultimately the safety of our students and staff is our top priority. This is how BCPS makes weather-related decisions:

Step 1: Information is key

  • The BCPS Divisions of Operations gathers daily weather reports from two weather services, in addition to real-time reports from the Baltimore County Office of Highways on the state of the roads.
  • If bad weather threatens, the BCPS “snow crew” heads out on the roads by 3 a.m., checking conditions on the road, at bus stops, and neighborhood sidewalks and walking routes. Even on nights when no foul weather is predicted, the road crew may still be out checking on known trouble areas or gauging weather conditions.
  • In addition, school officials begin talking directly with meteorologists to get up-to-the-minute forecasts and knowledgeable information. By 4 a.m., BCPS is talking with county and state highway monitors, physical facilities teams, and other nearby school systems in the path of the inclement weather.

Step 2: Decision Time

  • The superintendent determines whether schools and/or offices are closed, delayed, or dismissed early. The superintendent bases his decision first on student and staff safety.
  • The superintendent consults with the chief administrative and operations officer (CAOO) prior to making a final decision.

Step 3: Alerting Team BCPS

  • In order to make sure communication is effective and timely, the decision is broadcast to the public in a variety of ways, including an immediate posting to the website (www.bcps.org) and social media including the BCPS Facebook and Twitter feeds (@BaltCoPS) within seconds of the decision.
  • It is also placed on BCPS-TV, the BCPS Now app, and broadcast on the BCPS telephone “weather line” – 410.887.5555.
  • Also within minutes, calls are made to more than a dozen newsrooms across the region, including all four major Baltimore TV stations. Those reports usually air within seconds.
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