Weather-Related School Closings & Delays

Determining whether to close or delay school opening due to inclement weather is one of the most difficult and complex decisions a school division makes. The safety of students and staff is the first concern of the York County School Division when making decisions about school closings, delays or early dismissal.

The following information is provided to help our community understand the York County School Division's process when severe weather conditions pose potential safety hazards for students and staff. We realize that there is no perfect decision for everyone and we understand that changes to the school schedule impact our families. Parents and staff are encouraged to make advance plans and adjustments for potential school delays and closings. By working together, we can increase safety and minimize the disruptions caused by emergency closings.

Making the Decision

  • Members of the YCSD leadership team closely monitor forecasts from the National Weather Service as well as local and national meteorologists. Information gathered includes:
    • amount and type of forecasted precipitation;
    • timing (start and stop) of precipitation; and
    • status of severe weather alerts (advisories, watches, warnings).
  • The YCSD road assessment team conducts a visual inspection to assess the following:
    • road (highway, primary and residential) and bus stop conditions;
    • school parking lot, sidewalk and bus loop conditions;
    • facility conditions (power, HVAC, etc).
  • Team members confer with the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office, York County Fire & Life Safety Department and neighboring school divisions.

Announcing the Decision

As soon as a decision to adjust school operating hours is made, the information is:

  • posted on the division’s website, YCSD-TV, YCSD app, Facebook and Twitter accounts;
  • shared via the division’s telephone and email notification system to all parent contact information on file for each student as well as to employees; and
  • provided to local television and radio stations, though the division cannot guarantee the broadcast or accuracy of closure announcements on these stations

*To receive phone, text and email notifications, schools must have your up-to-date contact information. Parents should contact the appropriate school as soon as contact information changes while staff must notify the Human Resources department and update HRMS on the division's intranet site.

Timing of the Decision

Whenever possible, morning decisions to close or delay school will be made no later than 5:30 a.m. Storm tracks can change at any time, significantly affecting the outcome on our area. For this reason, our administrators usually wait until early in the morning to see what really does occur instead of making a decision based upon a forecast.

In certain situations, the division can make a scheduling decision the day before so that parents, staff members, and students know what will happen the following day. One example of when this occurs is when winter precipitation is already on the ground and the temperatures are such that the precipitation on the ground is frozen or will refreeze.

While the division tries to avoid unexpected early dismissals, there have been occasions in which it is unavoidable. In the event that school will dismiss early due to weather conditions, the division will give parents at least two hours’ notice.

Please remember that NO announcement will be made if schools will be operating on their normal schedules.

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