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Communications Plan for School Closings and Delays

Communications Plan for School Closings and Delays

Hagerstown, MD (November 1, 2007)- If the Washington County Public Schools are forced to close schools or alter schedules for inclement weather or other reasons, those changes are communicated in a number of ways. In the case of a closure or delayed opening, local and regional media will be notified; messages will be posted on Antietam Cable Channel 99 (the education channel shared by WCPS and Hagerstown Community College) and on the WCPS website home page ( and School Delays & Closings page; and a broadcast email will be sent to those individuals who have registered to receive a Delays/Closings email from WCPS. Visitors to the website can register to receive those and other emails by clicking on "Sign up for email updates," a link from Delays/Closings on the website home page.
The following media outlets are informed of WCPS closings, delays or early dismissals:
* Radio- WJEJ/1240 AM, WCRH/90.5 FM, WQCM/94.3 FM, WIKZ/95.1 FM, WAYZ/104.7 FM, WFYN/101.5 FM, WPPT/92.1 FM, WARK/1490 AM, WWEG/106.9 FM, WLTF/97.5 FM, WICL/ 95.9, WFMD/930 AM, WFRE/99.9 FM, WDHC/92.9 FM, WCST/1010 AM, WKGO/106.6, WCBC/1270 AM, WKZG/107.1 FM
* Television- WHAG/Hagerstown, WRC/Washington, USA/Washington, WJZ/Baltimore, WBAL/Baltimore
The AlertNow telephone system will be used in situations involving early dismissals, but will not be used when early morning decisions are made to close schools or delay the start of the school day.
When inclement weather is present or forecast, the supervisor of transportation and transportation department staff travel designated routes that are representative of some of the critical areas for safe school bus travel throughout the county. At the same time, the supervisor remains in communication with the county roads department, the state highway administration, and school transportation supervisors in surrounding counties in order to update conditions. With local information and satellite weather information, the supervisor contacts the superintendent of schools with a recommendation for changes in school status, if changes are necessary.
Final determination is normally made prior to 5:30am with media notification and posting of information prior to 6:00am Depending on specific conditions, the timeline may vary. Parents are urged to monitor several sources of information to gain updates as quickly as possible.
Each school closing, delay, or early dismissal decision is made with the safety of students, staff, and parents/guardians as the highest priority.

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