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School Emergencies, Delays and Closures

photo of school in snow

When do we close schools?

We strive to keep DCPS schools open whenever possible.

We are reluctant to close school as it is our priority to ensure that our students have access to all they need, including academic instruction, nutritious meals and healthy extracurricular programming.

When there is inclement weather, we work closely with the DC government and other agencies to obtain the best and most current information. The decision to delay and close schools is made with careful consideration of road safety, sidewalk safety, and meal availability.

The decision to delay or close schools applies to all DCPS schools. This includes DCPS elementary, middle and high schools.


You always have the choice to keep their kids at home, pick them up early or send them late – even when DCPS makes the decision to remain open. You are the ultimate decision makers when it comes to your kids!


Teachers follow the school day or student schedule. If students report two hours late, teachers report two hours after their normal required start time.

Essential Personnel

There are a number of DCPS employees designated as "essential personnel", including:

  • Chiefs and their direct reports essential to operating schools and continuing critical DCPS functions
  • Inclement weather team

School-based staff essential personnel include:

  • Building engineers and custodians
  • Principals and designated administrative team members (such as Assistant Principals, Dean of Students, and Coordinators)
    • If schools are closed, principals and other members of the administrative team do not report to school.
    • If schools are delayed, principals and other members of the administrative team are expected to report to school as soon as practical, but in any event within two hours of the normal start time so that the building is readied when the students and teachers arrive.