When wintry weather affects school

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Be prepared

Severe weather or poor road conditions can prompt Fayette County Public Schools to alter routines or daily schedules in the district. Therefore it's a good idea to decide in advance how best to keep up with the changes, what child-care arrangements are needed, and how to adjust if school is delayed, students are released early or schools are closed. Also, please make sure your child's school has up-to-date phone numbers and emergency contacts for your family.

Getting the word out

Announcements are made as soon as possible on Channel 13, the FCPS website, via Facebook and Twitter, and through the local media. Families can also set their phone-call and text-message preferences in Infinite Campus:


Decisions and options

Students' safety is a top priority, so on wintry days, a team of district employees begins assessing conditions as early as 2:30 a.m. These leaders -- in consultation with meteorologists and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Streets and Roads Division -- consider roads, outdoor temperatures, wind chills, current conditions and the weather forecast, with a goal of announcing a decision by 5 a.m.

Whenever travel is unsafe, FCPS has three choices:

  1. Cancel school
  2. Delay the start of school
  3. Dismiss school early

Please remember that conditions vary throughout the community. One end of the county might be clear while other areas of town remain treacherous. With student safety as the guiding priority, FCPS makes decisions based on what's best for the whole community. The district also respects the right of each family to make different choices based on what they feel is best for their children's safety.

1. If school is canceled:

All preschool sessions are canceled, too. Afternoon and evening student activities are canceled for elementary and middle schools. Activities geared toward adults, such as SBDM council and PTA meetings, may continue at the principal’s discretion.

At the high-school level, afternoon and evening student activities should be considered canceled. If the weather improves during the morning and activities can be held safely, an announcement will be made no later than 12:30 p.m. These decisions will be communicated to the principals, who will distribute the information to coaches and sponsors. Also, high school activities geared toward adults may continue at the principal’s discretion.

Make-up days

State law requires school districts to make up every day missed so that the school year contains at least 170 days of teaching and learning and 1,062 instructional hours. There is no exception unless FCPS misses 20 consecutive days or a change is approved by the governor or General Assembly. The FCPS calendars (online and PDFs) are updated after the district confirms each make-up date.

2. If school is delayed:

Schools start either one or two hours later than normal, as announced. Buses run regular routes; just add one or two hours to the regularly scheduled times. Breakfast will be available before school.

All preschool sessions are canceled (a.m., p.m., and full-day).

Zero-hour classes are canceled at Paul Laurence Dunbar and Henry Clay high schools. The technical centers' morning classes will meet if FCPS is on a one-hour delay, but are canceled if on a two-hour delay. Afternoon tech schedules remain the same either way.

School dismissal times remain the same, and afternoon and evening activities continue as usual.

Decisions about making up the time missed will be made on a case-by-case basis in accordance with state guidelines.

3. If schools dismiss early:

Afternoon preschool sessions (depending on the timing of the district's announcement), afternoon technical center classes, and after-school and evening activities are all canceled. Preschoolers with a start time of 7 or 10:45 a.m. will ride their regular bus home, either one or two hours earlier than normal. Those starting at 7:45 or 11:35 a.m. will ride home with the elementary students at their school's early dismissal time.

Bus riders will arrive at their regular stops earlier. Simply subtract from the regular drop-off times.

Decisions about making up the time missed will be made on a case-by-case basis in accordance with state guidelines.

Weekend activities

All district activities scheduled on the weekend are subject to cancellation when:

  • There is clear and present danger for automobile travel on local streets and roads, as when local authorities issue warnings against unnecessary travel.
  • There is high probability of storm or other conditions that would most likely restrict safe travel on roads and streets during the next several hours.

District activities are subject to being placed on hold when:

  • The present weather conditions are not conducive to safe travel, but the local forecast indicates the conditions will likely be OK within the next three hours.
  • Streets and roads might become unsafe for travel between 6 and 9 a.m.

The FCPS Transportation Division will make the call prior to 6 a.m. on Saturday. Once that decision is communicated to Law Enforcement, all district activities are either canceled or placed on hold, as determined.

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