Weather Cancellation Procedures

When bad weather or other emergency situations occur, it may be necessary for Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) to modify normal operations by canceling, moving to virtual/remote learning, delaying opening, or closing schools early.

 

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Key things to remember

The safety of our students and staff is our number one priority when making decisions.

PWCS reviews information from emergency management, meteorologists, and state highway administrators about road conditions, and school personnel also inspect the conditions of roads throughout the county, sidewalks, and parking lots and bus lanes. Decisions are made based on countywide conditions and weather forecasts to ensure the safety of all students, staff, and residents across more than 350 square miles, with significant elevation changes. This means closings may occur when conditions might not seem particularly bad in your immediate area. Please get to know the weather codes we use in PWCS when changing operations due to weather.

Decisions are communicated as rapidly as possible.

PWCS tries to make decisions on delays and closings as many hours in advance as possible, in consideration of families who need time to make proper arrangements. In most cases, the decision will be made the night before; or in uncertain conditions, not later than 4:30 a.m. on the morning of closing. Once weather-related decisions are made, weather communications will then follow as rapidly as possible.

You Make the Ultimate Decision.

As parents and guardians, if you feel conditions are unsafe and school is open, you have the option of not sending your child(ren) to school. If you elect to not send your students on a day when school is in session, they will receive an excused absence IF the absence has been reported by their parent/guardian. Please report the absence to your child’s school and the reason for the absence. This is not necessary for Code Orange days this year. Students will not be penalized academically but are expected to make up all assignments.

Have a Well-Communicated Plan in Place.

In the event of early closing, which PWCS tries to avoid, children need to know where to go or what to do if a parent/guardian is not home. Please ensure your contact information is updated in ParentVUE as schools rely on this information to ensure your child’s safety. Do not bring children to school on Code Red or Code Orange days as staff will not be in the building.

Do you know the code?

Please get to know the weather codes we use in PWCS when closing school or delaying the opening of school.


PWCS provides information about closings and delays in many ways including:

  • PWCS Facebook and Twitter
  • Alerts on the PWCS homepage and each school webpage
  • Email and text messages sent to parents/guardians (using the contact information in The Hub)
  • Push notification to the My PWCS app
  • Posted on PWCS-TV (channel 18 on Comcast and channel 36 on Fios)
  • Area radio and television stations

Information alert

Due to the speed of updating, the official @PWCSnews Twitter account is generally the first and fastest mode of communication. Other communication channels will be updated as quickly as possible including email, text, website, other social media, and news stations. Please be aware, due to the large volume of emails sent, there will likely be a delay between the Twitter alert and receipt of an email in your inbox.

Make sure you are receiving critical messages from PWCS, including closings, delays, emergencies

phone   envelope   comment bubble

PWCS Notifications

Parents and guardians of students and employees of Prince William County Public Schools are automatically enrolled in the PWCS Notification messaging service.

PWCS central office and schools use this system to communicate delayed opening and school closing information, emergency messages, and to send attendance, lunch account balance, and school-based outreach messages. Messages are delivered using the contact information provided by parents and employees.

Learn How To Set Your Notification Preferences (PDF).

Updating Basic Contact Information

It is important to keep your information and your emergency contact information up to date. Parents may view request edits to their child's emergency contact information online through ParentVUE.

Employees can view and update their contact information through the Employee Self Service system.