MCPS releases ‘Post-COVID Inclement Weather Plan’

February 2, 2021

As+the+2020-2021+school+year+has+entailed+fully+virtual+instruction+thus+far%2C+changes+to+the+county%E2%80%99s+inclement+weather+policies+have+been+made.

Graphic by Angelina Guhl

As the 2020-2021 school year has entailed fully virtual instruction thus far, changes to the county’s inclement weather policies have been made.

 On Jan. 29, MCPS officials released an updated ‘Post-COVID Inclement Weather Plan’ in a guidance matrix format. As the 2020-2021 school year has entailed fully virtual instruction thus far, changes to the county’s inclement weather policies have been made.

According to the new inclement weather plan, if MCPS school buildings and offices are both closed as a result of severe weather conditions, then virtual instruction would be canceled. However, if MCPS school buildings are closed while offices are still open, virtual learning would still proceed as scheduled. In the event of unexpected weather events occurring while students may be in school buildings, both virtual and in-person instruction would end early.

Typically, MCPS builds four snow days into the student calendar each school year. In cases of extreme weather, these snow days are used so that administrators can cancel, delay, or shorten school days without significantly impacting learning curriculums. If schools have more closures than anticipated, spring break will be shortened or the start of summer break will be pushed back to maintain the same number of academic school days.

However, the virtual environment of the 2020-2021 school year is a unique case in MCPS history. Educators and county officials stated that snow days would no longer be as relevant in the current environment in an October virtual conversation, because transportation risks as a result of difficult weather conditions would no longer occur. Since students are working from home, the only remaining impacts would include the disruption of food distribution and a change of environment for any teachers who choose to work from school.

“[The county] will continue virtual learning for all students [in cases of snow or other extreme weather] unless there are widespread power outages,” said the school district in a statement.

 “Depending on the conditions of county roads, staff who work in buildings may be asked to work remotely,” said the school district in an email regarding the recent snowstorm. “We may also have to modify our meal service plans for the day but will communicate with our community once we have the details.”

Further information of the newly released ‘Inclement Weather Plan’ can be found here.

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