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Determining School Schedule Changes
Every school day, our buses travel a geographical area of nearly 750 square miles to transport our students to and from school. The decision to change the school schedule or cancel school due to inclement weather is based solely on student safety and takes into consideration:
- Road conditions for bus travel and student and staff drivers;
- Weather forecasts; and
- Assessments by law enforcement, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and other localities.
The school division considers four options when bad weather becomes a factor in the school schedule:
- Delay the opening of school by one hour;
- Delay the opening of school by two hours;
- Dismiss school early; or
- Cancel school for the day.
Albemarle County’s large size and mixture of rural and urban settings creates a unique challenge for the school division in determining school delays and closings. Our buses travel roads ranging from multi-lane highways to narrow dirt roads crossing mountains and one-lane bridges. Often roads in the urban ring around Charlottesville may be clear while those in more rural areas may be inaccessible for a longer period of time following a storm. When a significant portion of the county’s roads cannot be navigated safely by school buses, the decision is made to close school.
Video: Snow Patrol: A Look Inside Weather-Related School Closing Decisions
Early Morning Timeline
Each inclement weather event is unique. While we sometimes have enough information to make and communicate scheduling decisions in the evening, the timeline below represents a general guideline of the decision-making process when it occurs in the early morning.
2 to 4 a.m. Transportation Services Road Assessment Team drives assigned routes to evaluate conditions and hazards for school buses in six sections of the county. Other team members monitor weather forecasts and consult with other agencies and localities.
4:30 a.m. Road Assessment Team reports to Director of Transportation.
4:45 a.m. Director of Transportation submits recommendation to the Superintendent’s Office and final decision is made regarding school operations.
By 5 a.m. If decision is made to change the school schedule, communications process commences.
5:15 to 5:30 a.m. School Schedule Hotline updated: 434-296-5886
By 6 a.m. Local media notified. School division announces decision by voice, email and text to all subscribers of the
Electronic School Notification System and posts announcement to school division website and social media sites.
Mid-Morning Reassessment Timeline
When we opt to close schools based on icy road conditions or a forecast, we may reserve the option to open school buildings for certain after-school activities, in the event that road conditions improve or the forecast does not come to fruition. (Note: This consideration applies only to school-based activities; community use activities remain canceled when schools are closed.)
10 to 11:30 a.m. Transportation Services reevaluates road conditions and hazards throughout the county, monitors forecasts, and consults with other agencies and localities.
11:45 a.m. Director of Transportation submits recommendation to the Superintendent’s Office and final decision is made regarding after-school operations.
By 1 p.m.
If approval is granted for schools to hold extracurricular activities, individual schools determine which of their activities will take place and announce decision by voice, email and text using the
Electronic School Notification System.
Note: If you do not hear from your school by 1 p.m., all after-school activities remain canceled.
Half-Day Dismissal: January 17, April 3 & June 5
The 2019-20 school year calendar includes three half-days for students: Friday, January 17; Friday, April 3; and Friday, June 5, which also is the last day of school for students. Dismissal times for half-days are as follows:
11:30 a.m. | All elementary schools
(Note: When the half-day falls on a Friday, all half-day special needs pre-K will dismiss at 11:30 rather than 11:00.)
12:05 p.m. | Ivy Creek School and Center for Learning & Growth
12:15 p.m. | Post High
12:30 p.m. | Murray High School and Community Public Charter School (CPCS)
12:50 p.m. | Western Albemarle High School
12:55 p.m. | Albemarle and Monticello high schools
1:05 p.m. | All middle schools (other than CPCS)
IMPORTANT: The After-School Enrichment Program does not operate on half-days.
The After-School Enrichment Program will
not operate if school dismisses early.
Please make certain your child’s school has current information regarding where your child should go in the event of an early closing.
Last Day of School: June 5
The last day of the 2019-20 school year for students will be Friday, June 5. This is a half-day for students, followed by a half-workday for teachers.
Days Missed Due to Inclement Weather
Days missed due to inclement weather will be made up with hours accumulated by the schools in excess of the minimum 990 hours required by the standards of accreditation. In other words, there are no make-up days built into the 2019-20 calendar, and we will not extend the school year to make up for missed days.
Are You Registered for Community Emergency Alerts?
Charlottesville-UVA-Albemarle Office of Emergency Management recommends that all residents and businesses in the Charlottesville-Albemarle region register for the
CodeRED Emergency Alert System. By registering, residents may receive alerts about critical situations, such as weather warnings and emergency events, and necessary actions. Subscribers can select the type of alerts they would like to receive as well as how they are warned, including phone, text and email.
Learn more »