Inclement Weather and School Closings, Delays and Early Dismissals

Inclement Weather Notifications

The Board of School Commissioners has updated its policy and administrative regulations on delayed openings and emergency closings of schools, which now includes details regarding essential personnel and liberal leave. Summaries of the policy are provided here.

How to Find Out If Schools and Offices Are Closed

All full-day closings and delays will be announced as close to 5 a.m. as possible. For early dismissals, announcements are made as soon as the decision is made.
 
To find out if schools are closed or delayed and whether you need to report to work, check your City Schools email. Reporting details (including whether liberal leave is in effect and if union employees and essential employees need to report) will be emailed to all employees as soon as a decision is made.
 
Additionally, staff can use the following methods to find out about closures or delays: 

Essential Personnel

When the district closes or delays opening, employees who, due to the critical nature of their job functions, are considered directly responsible for the safe opening or closing of schools (including charter and contract schools) must report as scheduled. These include the following staff members:

  1. Principals
  2. Education building supervisors
  3. Building engineers
  4. Contract maintenance staff
  5. Custodial staff
  6. Grounds and repair shop personnel
  7. Transportation administrative staff
  8. School police
  9. Cabinet officers ("chiefs")
The CEO may also designate other employees as essential who have been notified of their designation.
 
All other personnel are considered non-essential.  

Liberal Leave

Liberal leave is a situation in which employees may use accumulated vacation leave, personal leave, or compensatory time, without making the normal, advance-notice request of their supervisor. Department heads may grant time without pay to an employee who has no paid leave available for use. 

How Decisions Are Made

Well before daybreak, staff from City Schools' Operations Office check road conditions, neighborhood sidewalks, school parking lots, and school walkways. They also talk with staff from the Baltimore City Department of Transportation, the Maryland Mass Transit Administration, and local weather forecasters.
 
City Schools' CEO or designee reviews all the information and makes the decision whether to open schools on time, delay opening schools for two hours, or close schools. The CEO/designee also decides whether conditions are severe enough to close or delay opening the district office at 200 E. North Ave.
 
Schools and offices remain open if, based on the conditions and weather forecasts, it is determined that students and staff can travel safely to their school or office. 

Special Notes about Delayed Openings and Early Dismissals

  • Schools may open two hours late when travel conditions at 5 a.m. are deemed to be potentially unsafe but are expected to improve.
  • When travel conditions are safe at 5 a.m. but are forecast to deteriorate, an initial announcement of a two-hour delayed opening may be made. In this case, depending on how the weather develops, there may be a subsequent decision to close schools. If a reassessment of travel, school-building, or weather conditions indicates that schools should remain closed for the day, an announcement (following the initial delay announcement) will be made by 7 a.m. (or as soon as practicable) announcing City Schools is now closed for the day. If you learn of a delayed opening, please check this and school websites, Twitter, Facebook or local media right before beginning your trip to school, to make sure there has been no further change in schedule.A delayed opening means that all morning half-day early learning programs are canceled and school breakfast will not be served.
  • When schools open as schedule and weather subsequently deteriorates, schools may close early—usually 2.5 hours ahead of the regularly scheduled dismissal time. Announcements are made via websites, Twitter and local media as soon as transportation can be arranged for students who travel on City Schools-provided buses.
  • When schools close early, afternoon early learning programs, extended-day and after-school programs and all interscholastic athletic events are canceled, but lunch is served in all schools.
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