Isle of Wight County Schools

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Inclement Weather: Emergency Opening & Closing Procedures

Safety and security are top priorities for Isle of Wight County Schools. To that end, the division has adopted guidelines regarding school delayed openings, closings, and early releases due to inclement weather or emergency situations. The procedures used in school closings are detailed below. Keep this information in a convenient location for future reference.

Parents are urged to make arrangements in advance for the care of their children when schedule changes arise and unexpected closures occur. Children should know where to go or what to do if a parent will not be home or available to pick up their child.

Secondary Sources
  • Local television stations
  • Local newspaper websites
The division will utilize multiple avenues to communicate any changes in school schedules due to weather or other emergency conditions. When possible, announcements will be made by 10 p.m. the night before. If conditions warrant a delayed closing due to overnight developments, an announcement will be made through the following sources as soon as the decision is made. If no school closing or delayed start announcement is made by 6 a.m., schools WILL open at their regular time.


Primary Sources (direct IWCS communications)



School Opening Delays

  • Schools will not be open for student drop-off until 30 minutes prior to their regular start time. (Students enrolled in on-site before-school care should check with the program regarding their inclement weather operating schedule.)
  • Field trips during the school day will be cancelled.
  • If a delay occurs on a normally scheduled early release day, the early release will be cancelled and the schools will dismiss at their regular time. Lunch will be served at all schools.

1 Hour Opening Delay

  • Breakfast will be served.
  • Transportation to morning CTE programs will occur.
  • Bus routes (including full-day regional programs) will operate 1 hour later than normal.
  • Transportation to afternoon CTE programs and Governor’s Schools will occur, provided the host schools are open.

2 Hour Opening Delay

  • No breakfast will be served; lunch will be served.
  • There will be no transportation to morning CTE classes.
  • Transportation to afternoon CTE classes and Governor’s Schools will occur, provided the host schools are open.

School Closings/Cancellations

  • All school activities scheduled for the day are cancelled.
  • There will be no transportation for students enrolled in regional programs.
  • No staff shall report to work when schools are closed unless specifically notified by their Supervisor.

Emergency Early Release

  • In the event weather conditions occur or change during the school day, an early closure of schools may be necessary due to unsafe and worsening conditions.
  • A closure announcement will be made so that adequate time is allotted to ensure that students can be safely transported home. Closure plans are required approximately one and one/half hours after the closure occurs to complete secondary and elementary transportation runs.
  • Lunch will be served at all schools.
  • All afternoon activities are cancelled. This includes sports games, practices, tutoring, and all student involved activities.
  • Students enrolled in on-site after school care should check with the host agency for inclement weather operating schedules and closure procedures.
  • Field trips are cancelled. No trips will depart after the closing announcement. Recall efforts will be initiated for the field trips and regional programs.
  • All teachers, other instructional staff and service personnel MAY be dismissed by the principal only after all students have safely departed school property. Administrative staff will remain on regular hours unless specifically dismissed by an announcement from the Superintendent’s Office. Principals may use their judgment as to when segments of their staff will be dismissed (i.e., the entire staff would not remain for a few children waiting). For communication purposes, school offices will be staffed until all school bus routes have reported in that their runs have been completed.

Individual School Closings

Individual schools may close early should unsafe situations occur. Such conditions include:

  • Electricity failure
  • Equipment failure
  • Utility leaks
  • Other circumstances which may delay opening or necessitate the closing of school

Weather Watches and Warnings

  • All schools are to maintain an operating weather radio that is monitored throughout the school day.
  • When a tornado or severe thunderstorm WARNING is issued, schools will continue normal activities; however, recess and physical education activities will remain indoors.
  • When a tornado WARNING is issued, students will remain in school along with staff in predesignated shelter areas until the WARNING has been cancelled.
  • When a severe thunderstorm WARNING is issued, students will remain in school with staff.
  • Parents are requested not to come to school for their children during severe thunderstorm or tornado watches or warnings. Parents should remain off the roads until watches and warnings have been cancelled.
  • If a tornado watch or warning is issued for the time-frame of any after-school activity involving students, the activity shall be cancelled immediately and, in the event of a tornado warning, all people on the premises will be directed to take shelter in predesignated shelter areas.
  • If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued prior to or during any outdoor after-school activity involving students, the activity will be cancelled immediately. Indoor activities may be permitted to continue as scheduled.
Lynn B. Briggs
Director of Community & Media Relations
820 W. Main Street
Smithfield, VA 23430
Office: 757-365-1611
Fax: 757-365-0970our text here...