Closing & Delays

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)

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.

How Does SPS Announce Closings & Delays?

When a decision is made to close or delay Suffolk Public Schools because of weather conditions, or to close a single school for other reasons, detailed information will be provided in the following places:

SPS Facebook Page …  www.facebook.com/SuffolkVAPublicSchools/

SPS Twitter … https://twitter.com/SufVAschools

School Messenger … Automated phone calls with a recorded message will begin calling the homes of students and staff. The numbers called are based on the contact information stored in the division’s database.

SPS Website … www.spsk12.net

Telephone … A recorded message will be available after hours at 925-6750.

Television stations …WVEC-13, WAVY-10, WTKR-3 … and their websites

Division Mobile App … Download on mobile device from app store. Select “YES” to receive Push Notifications, allowing your device to receive announcements.

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.

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).

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

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