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Inclement Weather Guidance

How do we decide to close school?

The decision to delay or close school is a careful decision informed by a number of factors, including temperature and wind chill, levels of snow and ice, road conditions, the availability of public transit, and how these conditions are forecast to develop over the course of the day. The Mayor ultimately decides whether schools are open, delayed, or closed by reviewing the latest information. A decision is typically made between 4 – 5 am the morning of the delay or closure.

How is the public notified of school closings?

The best source of information is the DCPS twitter account (@dcpublicschools). Information will also be shared on the DCPS website (dcps.dc.gov), DCPS social media accounts, and local TV and radio stations.

What does a 2-hour delay mean?

A delay causes schools to open two hours later than the normal start time. Schools will still close at the regular time. A delay does not count as a snow day and does not need to be made up later in the year. Any before-school programs such as daycare will be cancelled. Schools will individually decide how to alter their bell schedule for a delay and if they will serve breakfast. When the opening of school has been delayed due to weather, afterschool programs will operate as scheduled.

What if inclement weather develops during the school day?

We open with the intent of remaining open for the full school day. Early dismissals are used only in extreme situations. The decision to cancel any extended day, afterschool program, or athletic event will come from the Chancellor. In such cases, DCPS will inform schools and families that afterschool programming is cancelled. If we need to close early, students will still be served lunch before dismissal.

When will school be made up?

State law requires us to have a minimum of 180 school days. To meet this requirement, some snow days will need to be made up at the end of the year. DCPS will communicate make-up days each year accordingly.

I’m a DCPS employee-how will I know when to report to my school or office?

DCPS will notify staff members of the employee reporting requirements during inclement weather on the DCPS website. The color-coding policy used to determine which employees report, as well as which DCPS schools and offices are open/closed, is below:

Employee Attendance Status Codes

Employee Attendance Status Codes Chart - Text equivalent below.

  • Green

    • Schools and Central Office: Operating status for both schools and Central Office is the same. All DCPS schools and Central Office are OPEN. All DCPS employees report for their normal tour of duty.
  • Yellow 

    • Schools: All DCPS schools are CLOSED or DELAYED.
      • School-based Essential employees report for their normal tour of duty. 
      • School-based Non-essential employees do not report if closed, OR report at delayed start time.
    • Central Office: Central Office is OPEN. All Central Office employees report for their normal tour of duty.
  • Orange 

    • Schools: All DCPS schools are CLOSED or DELAYED.
      • School-based Essential employees report for their normal tour of duty.
      • School-based Non-essential employees do not report if closed, OR report at delayed start time.
    • Central Office: Central Office is CLOSED or DELAYED.
      • Central Office Essential employees are on call and will be notified by their supervisor if they need to report to work on time.
      • Central Office Non-essential employees do not report if closed, OR report at delayed start time.
  • Red

    • Schools and Central Office: All DCPS schools and Central Office are CLOSED. No DCPS employees report, including Essential school-based and Central Office employees.

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