Anne Arundel County Public Schools is responsible for clearing school lots and sidewalks on school property, while roadways fall to the County Department of Public Works and State Highway Administration, depending on the road. Sidewalks are the responsibility of homeowners or businesses to clear.
TORNADO WATCHES & WARNINGS
All Anne Arundel County Public Schools and offices are equipped with NOAA weather radios to alert personnel to conditions such a tornado watch. Communication between AACPS’ Office of School Security and all schools helps ensure the accurate transmission of this information. The following procedures are in place:
Tornado Watch: All students and staff are brought into the main building from any relocatable classrooms until the watch expires. Any outdoor activities such as recess, physical education class, etc., are canceled. Bus transportation and field trips are generally unaffected, but can be impacted in extreme situations.
Tornado Warning: All students and staff should go into the designated “Tornado Shelter” locations within their school or office until the warning expires. All outdoor activities, including field trips and bus transportation, are immediately halted until the warning expires.
All schools have School Emergency Plans which dictate procedures specific to their school. If you have questions about the specific procedures at your child’s school, please call the school directly.
STEPS TO MAKING THE DECISION
In addition to monitoring road conditions throughout the county, AACPS personnel engage in conversations with surrounding school systems. Since AACPS has employees traveling from other jurisdictions, the information exchanged includes road conditions, etc.
Decisions are made on a countywide basis, as AACPS does not have regionalized bus transportation. They are made as soon as possible, though in most cases a call the night before is not prudent.
All schools and offices were closed on Thursday, January 27. Custodial and other facilities personnel were hard at work, however.
At one point during the day of January 27, AACPS had 21 schools without power. By 7 p.m. that evening, only eight schools were without power. By 4:30 on the morning of January 28, all schools had power. About an hour later, however, two schools lost power and had to close for the day.
Had a call on the status of schools for January 28 been made the day before, it would have been done with one-sixth of county schools without power. Yet all had power by the next morning. Likewise, road conditions changed throughout the day and evening.
AACPS’ responsibility is to make the most reasonable decision we can for the county as a whole, taking into account the conditions as they exist and the safety factors for students, parents, bus drivers, and employees. Obviously there will be singular instances where conditions are worse in a location than in the neighborhood next door. What we tell parents is to make the decision they feel is in the best interests of their children. In almost all cases, there will be parents who will refuse to send their children to school and schools will work with them on that.
BEST WAYS TO FIND OUT SCHOOL STATUS INFORMATION
With regard to the communication of school closing and/or delay information, this website (www.aacps.org) is almost always updated at approximately 5 a.m. (for issues occuring in the hours before school opening) and as soon as information is available (during the school day) with any schedule changes. The same is true of our snow line (410-222-5000). Media outlets generally have the information and are publicizing it by 5:15 a.m. An automated phone message goes out to all students and employees at 5:30 a.m. Free e-mail & text notification services (you must sign up) are also available through Schoolsout.com and the Baltimore Sun, where you would also receive this information at approximately the same time.
All of the above are good ways to obtain the latest information. The website (information is posted on the top front page) is the earliest and most reliable. In all cases, parents and employees should assume schools will open on time until there is notification of some adjustment.