Emergency Closing Information
When a storm brings snow, ice, freezing rain, or other hazardous conditions including excessive rain to Page County or an emergency situation occurs, care for safety may necessitate closing schools, dismissing early or opening them later than usual in the morning. Any decision about closing schools is made with safety of the students as the primary concern.
When the Decision Is Made
If weather conditions occur that make it obvious our schools will not be able to operate the following day, an announcement for the next day is sent out on the PCPS Communications System that will alert all families and staff via text messages, phone calls as well as being posted across social media platforms and our webpage; it will also be communicated to radio and television stations. If the situation is uncertain or a storm develops during the night, the decision is not made and announced until early the following morning. We will try to have the decision made no later than 5:30 a.m. in order for announcements to be made in a timely manner. However, if conditions worsen after 5:30 a.m., a decision and announcement will be made as soon as possible.
How the Decision Is Made
The Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Business Operations, the Supervisor for Transportation and the Supervisor of Facilities and Operations work with other transportation employees to check weather and road conditions in different sections of the county. They also coordinate with the highway department, our county EMS and public safety officials and each other. Various weather reports, channels and radars are monitored and checked. In addition, school officials take a firsthand look by driving some county school-bus routes. The next step may - but not necessarily - involve checking with other school superintendents from surrounding counties. Finally, a recommendation from the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Business Operations after consulting with the Supervisor for Transportation and the Supervisor of Facilities and Operations is presented to the Superintendent, and a final decision is made.
Lines of Communication
After a decision to close school or delay opening is made, an announcement is sent out on the PCPS Communications System. The announcement will be on social media and our website as well as communicated to the radio and TV stations listed below:
Radio Station Call List
- WSVA 92.1 FM/550 AM
- WZRV 95.3 FM/1450 AM
- WMQR 96.1 FM
- WDJR 96.9 FM
- WQPO 101 FM
- WUSQ 102.5 FM
- WWRE 105.1 FM
- WPER 105.7 FM
- WKCY 104.3 FM
TV Station Call List
- Channel 3 (WHSV)
- Channel 4 (WRC-TV)
- Channel 5 (WTTG-TV)
- Channel 9 (WUSA TV9)
It is important that parents and students not telephone the stations for information about school closings. Such efforts may block delivery of the very information the individual wishes to obtain by preventing a call from a school official with the announcement.
The one-hour delay schedule is employed when the weather situation is not sharply defined or when some roads are not clear and daylight will improve safety. A decision on this wll be made by 5:30 a.m. Use of the delay means that all schedules are moved one hour later. For example, a student who usually boards a school bus at 7:00 a.m. will be picked up at 8:00 a.m. Use of the delay allows schools to operate a full day if conditions significantly improve after 6:30 a.m. On occasion, if weather conditions worsen, schools will be closed and the announcement made as soon as possible.
A two-hour delay may, at times, be announced. When this occurs, students will be picked up two hours later than usual.
A storm can develop or conditions become hazardous at anytime in the morning necessitating an early closing. The early dismissal announcement and timing for dismissal will be announced and posted on all the above identified communication modes and channels. When early dismissal is announced, parents may go to the schools and pick up their children. We ask your cooperation in parking to avoid dangerous situations for students and buses.
Differing Road Conditions
The condition of relatively narrow secondary roads bears heavily on the decision to close schools as well as to reopen them. Sometimes patrons ask why schools are not in session after students have been out a day or two and roads in the towns of Luray, Stanley, and Shenandoah are clear. The decision for the entire school system is made in relation to the condition of all roads in Page County. Many times town and major roads are in good condition for travel, but some secondary roads remain icy and very dangerous.
Sometimes, if changing road conditions persist, it may be necessary to operate schools and have reduced bus routes. If this occurs, the radio announcement will state that buses will operate on the Emergency Bus Routes Reductions plan. Parents on roads where buses will not operate should get their children to the location designated on the emergency routes until the bus can resume its regular route. This information will be sent to parents living on the emergency routes.