Closing & Delays

How Does Suffolk Public Schools Announce Division Closings & Delays?

When Suffolk Public Schools decides to close or delay schools due to inclement weather conditions, we will provide detailed information on the following platforms:

SPS Website: www.spsk12.net; A pop-up alert will appear on the SPS Division website with information regarding closings or delays.

School Messenger: Students and staff will receive an automated phone message and email with information regarding closings or delays. Contact information is based on what we have on file in e-School.

SPS Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/SuffolkVAPublicSchools

SPS Twitter: @sufVASchools

SPS Instagram: @sufvaschools

Local Television Stations/Media Outlets: WVEC-13, WAVY-10, WTKR-3, Suffolk News-Herald. Information will also appear on their websites and social media pages.

*Please remember that any closings, delays, or early dismissals can impact childcare needs.  Please be sure to make alternate childcare plans in advance. 

For any questions, please contact the Office of Communications & Community Engagement at [email protected]

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How Do We Make Our Decision?

When bad weather affects the area, we make the decision to open or close schools based on information about road and weather conditions from a variety of sources - our maintenance and transportation staff, city road crews, local law enforcement, and local weather channels.

A number of factors are considered:

· Amount of accumulated snow and ice

· Whether precipitation is expected to continue throughout the day

· Temperature and wind chill

· Impact on our transportation fleet

· Weather predictions and the timing of storms

· Status of condition of city streets

· School parking lot conditions

· Building conditions (such as whether there is electricity, heat, and water)

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Who Makes the Decision?

When the weather is in question, we consult with our facilities director, our transportation director, and many others. When conditions warrant, our administrators are out driving the roads. Our district is extensive geographically, covering 429 square miles. Weather and road conditions may be fine in one portion of the district, but not in another. In such instances, we must close school for the entire district.
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Families Need to Plan Ahead
With inclement weather comes the possibility of school closings, delays, and early dismissals.  Please make alternate childcare plans in advance. If an early closing of school becomes necessary, students need to know what to do and where to go when they get off the school bus. There may be times that school dismissal will be delayed beyond regular school hours due to extreme weather conditions or for other reasons. The same assortment of communication tools listed above will be used when possible.

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Delayed Opening
Suffolk Public Schools will consider opening schools on a two-hour delay due to inclement weather, hazardous conditions, power outages, or other emergencies. Bus pick-ups for all students would begin either one hour or two hours later than standard pick-up times. “Delayed Opening” means that any before-school child care will also open under the same delay.  Elementary student's early drop-off would be delayed until 10:30 a.m., and breakfast would not be served on either delayed opening schedule. Lunch would be served. Dismissal time and after-school activities would remain the same unless otherwise noted.

Before- and After-School Childcare Programs
Suffolk Parks & Recreation Department will announce changes to their schedule independently since their centers are separate from the school building.

If you use YMCA childcare at your child's school, please ask the YMCA staff how they will notify you of closing & delay schedule adjustments.

Code 1 / Essential Personnel — Defined
Please be reminded on the occasions when the school division is impacted by severe weather, resulting concerns or issues must be promptly addressed before the next opening day. Under the “Code 1/Essential Personnel” designation, principals and department heads, and all custodians assigned to that building, are to report to their work locations to ensure there are no concerns to be addressed (such as broken pipes, no heat, other issues).

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Virginia Emergency Resource Links:

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) Resources:
VDEM Tornado Preparedness Guide: www.vaemergency.gov/tornadoes 
VDEM Flooding Guide: www.vaemergency.gov/floods