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Emergency/Snow Day Procedure

When a two-hour delay is called, there will be NO morning or afternoon pre-kindergarten. If school is dismissed two hours early, the morning pre-kindergarten students will stay until dismissal and ride the bus home with the other students. There will be no afternoon pre-kindergarten in the case of an early dismissal.


On inclement weather days, including snow, ice or flooding conditions, the WCPS transportation director and staff travel designated inclement weather routes that are representative of some of the critical areas for safe school bus travel throughout the county. During the inclement weather routes, the director of transportation communicates with the county roads department, state highway administration and other surrounding counties’ school directors of transportation as to the conditions in the neighboring areas. After reviewing local information and the DTN Satellite Weather Service information, the director of transportation contacts the superintendent to recommend changes in school status, as needed. A final determination is normally made prior to 5:30 a.m. with media notifications occurring prior to 6 a.m. Depending on specific weather situations, the timeline may be earlier or later. The primary consideration for delay or closure decisions is the safety of students traveling to and from school.



Since the 2001-2002 school year, WCPS has implemented two specific weather zones. The two zones are the Hancock Weather Zone and the Cascade Weather Zone. These areas typically experience greater inclement weather than the majority of the county. These zones may be delayed or closed separately from the rest of the county.

The Cascade Zone is defined as being the attendance area for Cascade Elementary School. Students who live in the Cascade Elementary attendance area and attend Cascade Elementary, Smithsburg Middle School or Smithsburg High School will follow any schedule changes that apply to the Cascade Zone. Students who live in the Old Forge Elementary, Smithsburg Elementary and Greenbrier Elementary attendance areas and attend one of these elementary schools, or Smithsburg Middle or Smithsburg High School are NOT included in the Cascade Zone. The Hancock Zone is defined as being the attendance area for Hancock Elementary School and Hancock Middle/Senior High School.


In addition to school delays or closings due to inclement weather, including snow, ice, flooding or heat, the superintendent may determine the need to close a school, schools or the school system based on other emergency situations (power outages, etc.). In the event of a school closing or delay, parent notification will occur using area media, the school system's website and the Connect 5 notification system.


Parents and staff should monitor the following notification outlets for information about school closings or delays. In case of a breakdown in the communication plan due to power outages or other technical difficulties, parents and staff should familiarize themselves with more than one source for this information.

  • Radio: WJEJ/1240 AM, WCRH/90.5 FM, WQCM/94.3 FM, WIKZ/95.1 FM, WAYZ/104.7 FM, WFYN/101.5 FM, WPPT/92.1 FM, WARK/1490 AM, WWEG/106.9 FM, WLTF/97.5 FM, WICL/ 95.9, WFMD/930 AM, WFRE/99.9 FM, WDHC/92.9 FM, WCST/1010 AM, WKGO/106.6, WCBC/1270 AM, WKZG/107.1 FM
  • Television: WHAG/Hagerstown, WRC/Washington, WUSA/Washington, WBAL/Baltimore
  • Antietam Cable: Channel 99
  • WCPS Website
  • WCPS Central Office Main Line: 301-766-2800

for wcps staff

Inclement weather codes