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How to Prepare for Fairfax County Public Schools Snow Days

Snow in Reston on Feb. 9, 2016/Credit: Robbie Nolan via TwitterAs winter approaches, parents of students in Fairfax County public schools must prepare for one of the biggest disruptions to their weekday routine — snow days.

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

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Afternoon Poll: What’s the FCPS Snow Day Solution?

Ridge Heights Road in snow/Credit: Cindy Chiou-Conlin via FacebookA full day of school when the snow is falling and the driving is terrible. A day off when a few flakes fall. In between, a whole bunch of two-hour delays.

That’s been the story for Fairfax County Public Schools since Jan. 6.

First, about four inches of snow fell and the buses got stuck and Superintendent Karen Garza admitted “we made the wrong call” about remaining open.

In the six schools days since, there has been one full day of school. Today, school was cancelled. In Reston and this portion of the county, no more than a dusting fell.

Meanwhile, the Capital Weather Gang says to cut the schools a break on today’s decision. It was a tricky forecast.

Why can’t the county seem to get it right? Are they playing it too safe after the #CloseFCPS publicity of last week?

Photo of Jan. 6 snow near Langston Hughes Middle School. 

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