The safety of our students and staff is our number one priority when considering school closures during a winter weather situation. We take multiple factors into consideration, including regional closures, staffing, operations, and inclement weather. The Department of Facilities and Operations works closely with the City of Alexandria emergency management staff to assess road conditions and include school personnel in inspecting the condition of roads, bus lanes, sidewalks and ACPS parking lots. These decisions are not made lightly, and our leadership team works collaboratively with instructional leaders when considering school closures.
ACPS tries to make school closure decisions the evening prior to a winter weather event, taking into consideration that families and staff need time to make proper arrangements. However, when there is a great deal of uncertainty around a winter weather forecast, we will wait to get the latest morning forecast and road condition update from the City of Alexandria. When we are unable to make a decision the evening prior to the potential weather event, the superintendent will make the decision about whether to close school buildings and provide at-home virtual instruction for students by approximately 5 a.m., at which point the process begins to communicate the decision to ACPS staff and families.
In the case of a change in school operations due to winter weather conditions, staff will receive notification via email and families will receive notification via email and text in their preferred language (English, Spanish, Arabic or Amharic). Additionally, the ACPS website and emergency hotline will include the up-to-date alert in multiple languages until normal operations resume. Communications staff also inform people by posting the weather alert details on social media and sharing this information with local news outlets and the City of Alexandria eNews system.
ACPS winter weather information is available at www.acps.k12.va.us/weather.