MCPS should announce delays, closures earlier


Screengrab by Nour Faragallah

MCPS’s official Twitter account announces the closing of schools at 6:13 in the morning. MCPS needs to start finalizing matters like these the night before, and not wait until the last minute.

Montgomery County, Maryland faced its first snowstorm this year and the usual anticipation began. Refreshing MCPS’s website, constantly checking for snow day announcements, and of course the legends of snow day rituals. Inside out pajamas, spoons under the pillows, flushing ice cubes down the toilet, the whole spiel. For the first days of the snowstorm, MCPS closed schools for Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, they had a two-hour delay that was announced at 5:03 a.m. For that Friday an initial two-hour delay was announced but the full cancellation was announced at 6:13 a.m.

The question is: What changed between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.? Oh yeah, nothing. There was nothing preventing MCPS from announcing the delays and closures the day before. Except they like to wait until the last minute, for really no reason. They claim that they are reassessing the situation up until the morning. But weather predictions are 99% accurate 12 hours ahead, so really the situation in the morning resembles the same conditions that existed the night before.

There could be many individuals who woke up to get ready for school only to get back in bed because of a delay or closure announcement. We all know how stressful school can be for students and staff alike, we all could have used a day to sleep in. But no, MCPS would never allow for that.

Let’s look at all the other neighboring counties that were facing the same tough decision as MCPS. Fairfax County announced closures in the afternoon of the days before, never later than 6 p.m. Even though PGCPS was doing virtual school at that time, when they announced closures it was also around 7 or 8 p.m. Arlington County’s closures were all announced before 5 p.m.

MCPS should start prioritizing the health and safety of their students. This starts with not making the announcement of closures and delays at 5 a.m.