County officials are cautioning against driving today as the heaviest period of snow sweep through the area this afternoon.
About four inches have piled up in Reston, according to measurements from Reston Now readers. Snow is expected to continue into the evening, with light accumulation expected.
Mass transit is operating at reduced service levels. WMATA is running on a severe snow plan, which means major systemwide delays. Metroraill will operate on a modified schedule, with trains running every 12 to 15 minutes on all lines.
If you’re planning to shovel out before freezing temperatures hit, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Departments encourages individuals to “take it slow.”
“It is important to consider your physical limitations. Wear weather appropriate gear to keep you warm. Only shovel snow if you are physically able to do so. This snow is a wet and heavy type of snow,” the department cautioned.
Here’s more from social media:
Stay home if you can. The roads are very slippery and driving conditions are bad. To those on the road for work reasons, we are with you and here if you need us! pic.twitter.com/3KdBfAOOni
— Fairfax County Police (@fairfaxpolice) March 21, 2018
VSP Troopers have responded to 250 crashes across #Virginia since midnight. Delay travel or end up like this driver…stuck on I-66 in Fairfax Co in #NorthernVA. https://t.co/oUYbn0cLC8 for road conditions. @VaDOTNOVA pic.twitter.com/J2FoktpULZ
— VA State Police (@VSPPIO) March 21, 2018
Help #FCFRD Access Nearest Fire Hydrant In An Emergency! All residents, who are physically able to do so, are asked to keep the nearest fire hydrant accessible and free of snow and ice. More: https://t.co/y6qPPeWQi4 #ffxstorm #adoptahydrant pic.twitter.com/MBcjAsyV2a
— Fairfax Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) March 21, 2018
Photos submitted by Michael Piper, Robbie Nolan, Betty Bley, Angelika Stadel and Douglass Errett
Fairfax County Public Schools officials will often try to make a decision the night before regarding whether to delay or cancel school. This can happen if snow has already begun to fall or if a majority of national weather forecasters agree inclement weather is likely by morning. In cases when the forecast is uncertain, though, officials may wait until 4:30 a.m. for the most up-to-date conditions.
One way to keep up with the latest school weather announcements is to download the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) app to your smartphone. The FCPS app is available in the iTunes App Store and on Google Play.
Parents can also contact their child’s school to sign up for text-message alerts about inclement weather decisions.
In addition, school officials say that decisions and announcements will be posted to the district’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and emails will be sent to parents and subscribers of the FCPS “News You Choose” newsletter. Notifications are also posted to Fairfax County’s cable-access station, Channel 21 (Cox, Reston Comcast and Verizon customers), and sent to local print, online, radio and television media outlets.
Thirteen snow days are built into the 2016-17 school calendar. If 13 or fewer school days are canceled due to inclement weather, no make-up days will need to be added onto the end of the year in June, and no days off for holidays or in-service days will need to be canceled.
A 14th day is also allowed, however, as a free day. After the 14th missed day, every other snow day will need to be made up. A 15th snow day, for example, would be made up by canceling the traditional day off after Easter Sunday — which this year would be Monday, April 17.
We may see a bit of snow on the ground in Reston later this week, meteorologists warn, though the forecast remains in flux.
Late Thursday night into early Friday morning, the forecasters say there is a chance we could experience a coating of up to an inch. There is a higher probability for snowfall between late Friday night and Sunday morning, the Capital Weather Gang says, but the prognosticators believe that snow could miss the local area and hit more to the southeast.
More information about school make-up days can be found on the FCPS website.
Video by Fairfax County Public Schools, via YouTube
The Fairfax County School Board has voted to add a day to the end of the 2013-14 school calendar as a makeup day for the 11th missed day of the year due to weather. The Board’s action makes Wednesday, June 25, the last day of the 2013-14 school year.
“This has been a unique and challenging year due to snowstorms both early and late in the season,” said FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza.
“We explored the option of counting instructional hours instead of days; however, our elementary schools would have fallen far short due to our current model of early release Mondays. We considered converting those early release Mondays into full days, but that would have eliminated critical planning time for elementary teachers, which was a real concern for us.”
Garza said the teacher’s groups hope to plan meaningful learning options for the extra days.
June 23 and 24 have already been tacked on to the school year as makeup days. June 25 will be an early dismissal day, the system says.
State law requires school divisions to provide instruction for a minimum of 180 days or 990 hours each school year. If the school division cannot meet the requirement for 180 days or 990 hours of instruction because of bad weather or other emergencies, days missed must be made up in accordance with the formula outlined in the Code of Virginia.
This formula requires that the school division must make up the first five days, and then make up one day for every two days missed in excess of the first five days missed by adding instructional days to the school calendar or extending the length of the school day. School divisions may use instructional time built into the school calendar that exceeds the 990 instructional hour minimum or add time to the remaining days to offset the days missed.
FCPS’ adopted calendar for school year 2013-14 identified specific makeup days – Feb. 17, April 7, June 23, and June 24. The calendar approved by the School Board for the current year provided a plan for 10 makeup days. The 11th snow day occurred on March 17, requiring the need for an additional makeup day.
FCPS officials contacted the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to discuss the possibility of a waiver for June 23-25. VDOE advised that a waiver would not be granted for June 23 and 24 because those days are already reflected in the Board approved calendar for 2013-14 and it would be unlikely that a waiver would be granted for June 25 because state law requires school divisions to certify that all reasonable efforts for making up lost teaching days or teaching hours were exhausted before requesting a waiver.
Other Virginia jurisdictions have added time to the instructional day, eliminated early release days, or added full days to comply with the 180 day or 990 hour instructional requirement.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning in effect from 6 p.m. Sunday to 2 p.m. Monday. Snow began falling in Reston about 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
Monday’s cancellation makes 11 snow days for students this school year. The school system recently announced there will be school on June 23 and 24 to make up previous snow days, as well as on April 7, which was previously a scheduled teacher work day.
All Fairfax County public schools and offices will be closed on Monday, March 17, 2014. The following activities in schools and on school grounds are canceled:
· extracurricular activities
· interscholastic contests
· team practices
· field trips
· middle school after-school programs
· professional learning and training courses
· all adult and community education classes
· recreation programs and community use by outside groups not affiliated with FCPS
School Age Child Care (SACC) centers are closed.
By any measurement, it has been a rough winter in Fairfax County, with the most snow days taken since the “snowpocalypse” season of 2009-10.
To make up snow days, FCPS students have already given up Presidents Day and will attend school on April 7, a scheduled teacher workday.
According to the school year calendar, two of the snow days will be added to the end of the school year (June 23 and 24), though the school board must formally adopt the plan.
The good news? If Tuesday is a snow day, that one gets a free pass and won’t have to be made up. But if there are 11 or more this season, those days will also be added to the end of the year or possibly added in as extra time in the school day, says FCPS calendar info.
Virginia law requires public schools to provide at least 180 days or 990 hours of instructional time annually. But it also allows the state Board of Education to waive the requirement if districts shut down in the aftermath of a state of emergency declared by the governor.
Monday’s snowstorm was a state of emergency in the commonwealth. The snowstorm in mid-February was also a statewide state of emergency.
School board at-large member Ryan McElveen says a waiver request will likely be in the works.
“The school board hasn’t formally talked about requesting a waiver yet, but I think it would be wise to do so,” he said on Monday. ” I’m sure we’ll have that discussion in the coming weeks. Both this storm and the previous storm were ‘states of emergency,’ so these days could all be considered for the waiver.”
FCPS was last granted a waiver from the requirement in 2010 following the nearly two-feet of snow that fell in back-to-back February storms. The district needed to schedule five make-up days, but only found time for four in the spring calendar. The board waived the requirement for the fifth make up day.
Thursday will be the third straight snow day and the sixth snow day overall.
While main roads are generally in good shape, many side roads in the county remain icy in areas.
FCPS builds three snow days into the school year. Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s snow days will be made up Feb. 17 and April 7, which were previously scheduled student holidays.
The good news: tomorrow’s snow day will not have to be made up, FCPS says.
However, if FCPS closes for additional days later this school year, extra time may be added on to the end of the school year.