Emergency Notifications, School Closings, and Delays

Closings, Delays, Cancellations & Postponements

Information about school operations is announced publicly as soon as possible on local radio and television stations and other media including the Internet.

  • BCPS Web Home Page links to page displaying emergency announcements
  • BCPS TV, Comcast Cable Channel 73 & Verizon Fios Channel 34
  • BCPS Telephone Information 443-809-5555
  • Local radio and television stations

The BCPS Inclement Weather FAQ

How does BCPS decide whether to close or delay the opening of schools for inclement weather?

Keeping children and staff safe is the main factor in any decision to close or delay the opening of schools.

Information about the weather is gathered and considered from many sources before a decision is made:

  • BCPS receives hourly updates from AccuWeather and other weather information sources about current local weather conditions and forecasted conditions.
  • As early as 2:30 a.m. on a school day, a team of school transportation personnel patrols county roads, bus stops, and known problem areas and reports on road conditions. In addition, reports are collected and considered from the Maryland State Police and Baltimore County highways department.
  • School personnel consider the safety of walking routes, sidewalks, school driveways, bus loops, and school parking lots.
  • BCPS collaborates with county transportation officials as well as neighboring school systems to confirm weather reports, track the progress of a storm, and determine the condition of streets and sidewalks.

Why does BCPS close schools or delay opening schools for inclement weather?

To provide a quality education for every student, BCPS supports every opportunity to ensure that students are in class and learning; however, when weather conditions or forecasted conditions threaten the safety of children and staff, we must make decisions to cancel classes to ensure students and staff are able to get to school safely or return home without incident.

What happens when a decision is made to close or delay schools?

When the Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools decides to close or delay school openings because of inclement weather, the decision is made with great care and deliberation. Many aspects of school operations are affected – bus and staff schedules must be altered; parents must be notified; and the media must be informed. Timing is crucial, as BCPS is a large school system with 111,000 students. If schools are to close for the day, an announcement will be made by 5:30 a.m. If schools are to close early, or if afternoon or evening programs are to be cancelled, the decision will be made as much in advance as possible. Please note that school closures also include the Virtual Learning Program.

Once the decision is made, it is communicated within minutes to the media and posted on BCPS web site, the Education Channel (cable channel 73), the BCPS school status information phone line. Information is also sent immediately to parents and the community. Safeguards are provided to ensure that the information is accurate, up-to-date, and reliable.

What other factors are at work when inclement weather threatens?

BCPS is a large system. Each day, more than 800 school buses transport more than 70,000 students to and from school over thousands of miles of county roads. The decision to close schools because of weather is almost always for the entire BCPS system. Weather, unlike a power outage or water main break, is not confined to a single area and can spread to different parts of the county. Therefore, the most severe weather conditions within the county are used as the basis for the decision-making criteria. A uniform procedure to close all schools is maintained so that the school system may respond quickly to emergency weather conditions and protect the safety and well being of students and staff. Also, decisions to close or delay schools are often influenced by factors such as school or bus lot accessibility. Most main roads may be clear, for instance, but parking lots and sidewalks at many of the county’s schools may still be snow-covered. Or schools may be closed early before a storm to enable the system’s buses to get all children home safely before conditions are expected to become hazardous. All factors involved in making the decision to close schools, delay the opening of schools, or end the school day early are in the best interest of students and are intended to keep children out of harm’s way.

Where can I find information about BCPS school closings or delays?
There are several places to find out information:

  • BCPS school status information line: 443-809-5555
  • TV/Radio: local radio and television stations, including The Education Channel, Comcast Cable Channel 73.
  • BCPS Home page
    Please do not call schools or media outlets for this information.

For more information regarding Emergency Closures, Delayed Openings, and Early Dismissals of Schools and/or Offices, please refer to Rule 6303.

What is the Hereford Zone?

The Hereford Zone is in the northern part of the county.

Below is a list of the schools that make up the Hereford Zone.

Fifth District Elementary
Jacksonville Elementary
Prettyboy Elementary
Seventh District Elementary
Sparks Elementary
Hereford Middle
Hereford High

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