School Closings – How To Find Out if Your Child’s School is Closed

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by Nindo Mom on January 13, 2011

There are numerous events that could cause an unexpected closing of your child’s school.

Some Reasons Schools May Close:

1. Dangerous Weather–including hurricanes, flooding, snow, ice, tornadoes, etc.

2. Extended Electricity Outage–especially during very hot or very cold times of year, when it affects air conditioning or heating of the school

3. Water outage

4. Terrorist Threat

5. Local Emergency–that could cause danger to the children

There are certainly lots of reasons schools can close, but these are some of the biggies. And because different schools handle these situations differently, it’s important that you find out about your child’s school policies, in particular.

Most schools hand out literature about emergency school closings and other policies at the beginning of each school year in the form of pamphlets, newsletters, fliers, or within larger publications such as a yearly school calendar.

Where to Find Out if Schools are Closed:

1. On the school website, possibly in a special section reserved just for that purpose

2. Special recordings accessible to parents via a special closing hotline phone number. This hotline may be specific to your child’s school, to the county where you live, or both.

3. Automated calling system that contacts each student’s family via the home telephone number they’ve provided the school at the beginning of the year.

4. Local television networks and / or radio stations. In some areas, your county Board of Education may have its own designated cable television access channel reserved exclusively for school announcements and other school-related information.

5. SchoolsOut.com service (in Maryland), or similar service

School’s Out is a service that was developed in 1996  to help inform parents, students and faculty of any early closings, delays and cancellations in their particular Maryland K-12 school districts. How it works: parents or faculty simply visit the website at www.schoolsout.com and sign up for notifications of school closings or schedule changes (late arrivals and early closings) at their child’s school using their preferred email address. (If parents have children attending more than one school, the parent can sign up for notifications from as many schools as they need, and using multiple email addresses.) Then, parents will receive automatic email notifications when their school(s) have emergency closings, or late openings / early dismissals that were not originally planned into the school calendar.

The Schools Out service is completely free at the basic level, which provides an email to parents or faculty of the change in their school schedule. Expanded service is available for a small yearly fee, through which parents can receive text message notifications directly to their cell phones.

School’s Out is a fantastic service that I’ve been using for several years. It’s been 100 percent reliable in keeping me informed about closings and cancellations at my son’s school–and it’s so much easier than trying to catch the info on local television or radio stations. I hope that all states adopt a similar program soon, as it’s proven invaluable to the parents of students here in Maryland.

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