With the arrival of colder weather comes the increasing chance of emergency weather closings and delays in Goochland County Public Schools. For your planning purposes, here is some important information to keep handy in the case of weather-related schedule changes.
How does the school district decide to make a change to the schedule due to weather?
School division staff pay close attention to multiple weather outlets to monitor impending weather situations. In addition, school division staff works with local and state agencies when making any decision to change school schedules. These agencies include Goochland Fire and Rescue, Goochland Sheriff’s Office, and the Virginia Department of Transportation. GCPS staff includes several “spotters” who visit designated benchmark roads to evaluate road conditions. We also consult with neighboring school divisions when making any change to our schedule.
Decisions related to closings, delays, or early releases are always made with the safety of our students and employees as the first priority. It is our goal to make these decisions as soon as possible in order to provide parents with the time to plan for their own schedules and needs related to transportation and child care. Many variables impact delay and closing decisions in a geographically diverse community. However, please know that these decisions are always made with the safety of our children in mind.
What are the different types of closings in GCPS?
Timing is critical and conditions, as determined above, will dictate our decision to release students early, close, or delay school openings.
School Delayed Opening: Offices will open on time, but schools will open late, normally 1 or 2 hours late. Bus pickup times and school opening times will be delayed by 1 or 2 hours.
School Early Closing: Students will be dismissed early from school at an announced time based on weather conditions. For example if conditions warrant a 1:00 p.m. dismissal, buses will depart the school campus at 1:00 p.m. To the greatest extent possible, school staff will work to provide lunch to all students before dismissal.
In the event of an early closing, all afterschool activities are canceled, including any outside organization activity in GCPS facilities. The one exception is YMCA after care, which will remain open and staffed by YMCA personnel at the school sites to allow parents two hours after school closures to pick up their children per YMCA policy. YMCA personnel will communicate with after care parents with more details in the event of schedule changes.
School Closing: When schools are closed for the day, students should not report and all afterschool and extracurricular activities are canceled. Schedules for employees will be communicated by the Superintendent in the event of school closing, which could include a delay for staff, office closings, or total shutdown of school facilities.
GCPS utilizes “snow routes” when necessary in order to safely transport students to school. Families will be notified in the event that snow routes are implemented. You can see the listing of snow routes here.
How do I find out about school closings?
GCPS utilizes a variety of available outlets to relay information about school events, and many of the same outlets will be the best way to get up to date information on emergency school closings and schedule changes. The first place that closing information will be posted is on Twitter and Facebook.
Updates will also be posted to the Goochland County Public Schools website at www.goochlandschools.org
Local TV and radio stations will be notified of any school schedule changes and normally include closings as part of scrolling announcements on TV or part of radio broadcasts.
We will also use the SchoolMessenger communication system to send phone and email messages when schedule changes arise. In the event of a school closing, parents should expect to receive a call beginning as early as 5:30 a.m. when closings are decided the morning of a weather event.
The safety of our students and staff is our number one priority and will guide any decision made by GCPS. We recognize that any change to the school schedule is a challenge for families, but we appreciate your understanding. We look forward to a great winter in Goochland.