Closings, Delays and Early Dismissals
Closings, Delays and Early Dismissals in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
When there is inclement weather or other emergency situations, CHCCS schools and offices will make every effort to protect the safety of staff, students and families. As a result, schools and offices may need to close, delay opening, or dismiss early.
The information on this page is developed in accordance with CHCCS Policy 5050 Emergency Closings. However, the information on this page may not address every conceivable employee or student scenario. When questions arise, students and families should consult with a teacher, school counselor or principal. Employees should consult with an immediate supervisor, in accordance with CHCCS Policy 7550 Absences Due to Inclement Weather.
Note: Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and Orange County Schools are two separate school districts. When decisions are made, please be sure you are following those of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.
The Decision-Making Process
Our highest priority is the safety of staff and students. The ability of buses, staff members, student-drivers and walkers to travel safely is a significant factor in the decision to close schools. Particularly in instances of snow and ice, this involves the condition of sidewalks, school walkways, parking lots, neighborhood streets, local roadways, major thoroughfares and Interstate highways. Of note: The majority of CHCCS employees commute from outside of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, which is another significant factor in our ability to safely open schools during inclement weather.
When inclement weather is in the forecast, CHCCS leaders monitor the situation, often for several days in advance. Leaders receive information from and participate in discussions with state and local emergency management organizations. CHCCS also consults with neighboring school districts in an effort to demonstrate regional collaboration. The Superintendent receives a recommendation from the CHCCS Division of Operations, which takes into account factors including the weather forecast, current and future road conditions, the safety of school grounds, power outages and internet access. The Superintendent eventually makes a decision which is announced by the Chief Communications Officer.
CLOSINGS: When all schools are closed due to inclement weather or other unexpected emergencies, students do not report. All school-related activities are canceled (with rare exceptions) and/or postponed to a later date. For more, see the section titled "Cancellation of Extracurricular Activities/Athletics/Events/After-School Care".
DELAYS: When all schools have a delayed opening, the delay will likely be two hours. This means all bus pickup times and school start times will occur two hours later than normal. Dismissal times and bus return/dropoff times remain the same as a normal school day. For example:
- In a two-hour delay, elementary schools would start at 9:50 a.m. and dismiss at 2:35 p.m.
- In a two-hour delay, middle schools would start at 10:25 a.m. and dismiss at 3:20 p.m.
- In a two-hour delay, high schools would start at 10:55 a.m. and dismiss at 4 p.m.
EARLY DISMISSALS: When all schools have an early dismissal due to inclement weather or other unexpected emergencies, elementary schools will be dismissed first, followed by middle schools, and finally high schools. Dismissal times may vary depending on the situation.
- In some instances, only one school or a small group of schools may be closed, delayed, or dismissed early. In those instances, specific instructions will be communicated in a timely manner.
When CHCCS schools and offices are closed due to inclement weather or other unexpected emergencies, an “optional remote teacher workday” may be called. This means CHCCS employees may work remotely (Policy 7503, Teleworking in Emergency Situations), take available leave time (such as annual leave), or work with their immediate supervisor to make alternate arrangements. Facilities/Maintenance/Custodial employees and others who are considered essential staff may receive additional instructions depending on the situation. When questions arise, employees should consult with an immediate supervisor, in accordance with CHCCS Policy 7550 Absences Due to Inclement Weather.
If students are dismissed early due to inclement weather or other unexpected emergencies, staff will be dismissed at the discretion of the principal or building supervisor. Some staff members may be required to respond to calls from parents/caregivers and to assist with other emergency-related needs.
North Carolina law allows the state’s K-12 school districts to call up to five (5) remote instruction (virtual learning) days during emergency situations. “Emergency situations” are defined by the state as “...severe weather, energy shortages, power failures or other emergency situations”.
- These days may be “synchronous” (live virtual instruction) or “asynchronous” (not live, or independent learning).
- In the event that a remote instruction/virtual learning day may be utilized, CHCCS will make every effort to communicate this possibility with enough advance notice for staff, families and students to adequately prepare. However, in some instances, advance preparation may only be 1-2 days in advance.
- Generally speaking, "synchronous" learning is more likely for middle/high schools because students *do* take Chromebooks home. "Asynchronous" learning is more likely for elementary students because they do *not* take Chromebooks home.
In general, the CHCCS synchronous virtual instruction/learning day (most likely for middle/high schools) involves the following:
- A school day that begins at the usual time, resembling the schedule of the “in person” school day. Classes may still include time for asynchronous learning, which would be communicated by your school and/or classroom teacher.
- Students accessing instruction using their CHCCS-provided device (Chromebooks, hotspots if requested, etc.)
- Visit this presentation for a refresher on remote learning: How to join a Google Meet.
In general, the CHCCS asynchronous learning day (most likely for elementary schools) involves the following:
- Students receiving assignments from teachers that will be completed independently, at the students’ own pace.
What about “snow days” for students? The leadership of CHCCS used to be kids too, and we appreciate the enjoyment of a good old-fashioned “snow day” on a fresh winter morning. We still believe that “snow days” for students can exist (employees would likely have an “optional remote teacher workday” as defined earlier.) However, assuming power and internet access are still available, virtual learning may be used when snow/ice or other inclement weather results in schools being closed for multiple days in a row.
Potential Make-up Days
The first three instances of school closings generally do not require that the days be “made up”. This is because CHCCS schools accumulate enough instructional hours throughout the year in order to exceed the state’s minimum requirements for class time.
If there are going to be make-up days, when would they be? CHCCS designates the potential makeup dates as “inclement weather days” in the school calendar. Teacher workdays (days that are originally intended to be used for staff planning and internal meetings) are usually marked as the first potential makeup dates, in the event they become necessary.
Note: When school is closed due to inclement weather or other emergencies, CHCCS may elect to call for virtual/remote learning even if the district is not immediately at risk of falling below the state’s minimum number of instructional hours. This choice would help the district avoid using weekends, holidays or breaks (such as Spring Break) as makeup days in the event of closures that occur at some unpredictable point in the future.
In any closing, delay, early dismissal or other emergency event, facilities/maintenance/custodial employees may be identified as essential personnel who are subject to being called-in or staying on-site. This requires employees to ensure that school facilities are ready for use by all staff and students following an emergency event. Questions should be directed to the employee’s immediate supervisor.
Cancellation of Extracurricular Activities/Athletics/Events/After-School Care
When schools are closed or dismissed early due to inclement weather or other emergency situations, all field trips, athletic events, after-school and evening activities are canceled and/or postponed to a later date.
- In rare cases, exceptions (sometimes related to regional or state events/activities/athletics) may be approved by the Superintendent or designee when conditions indicate transportation and facility access can safely occur. Those exceptions would be communicated on a case-by-case basis.
- Generally speaking, if school is closed, then Community Schools after-school care is closed as well. However, there may be rare instances when schools close or dismiss early, but Community Schools elementary after-school care will still accept and serve students. Specific information related to Community Schools after-school care will often come from your care provider.
Community Usage of School Facilities
When schools are closed or dismissed early due to inclement weather or other emergency situations, community usage of school facilities is also canceled and/or postponed to a later date when schools re-open.
How will I find out about a closing, delay or early dismissal?
In general, it is the goal of CHCCS to make these decisions as early as possible so that staff, students and families can plan around them. This will usually mean CHCCS decisions, if possible, are made in the late-afternoon or early-evening prior to a potential closing, delay or early dismissal.
CHCCS uses its main website, www.chccs.org, the CHCCS app and the Blackboard mass notification system (robocall, email, text) to announce school closings, delays and early dismissals. See our Communications "Overview" page for more information about Blackboard.
- Not receiving messages? Unsure if your contact information is up to date? Please contact the data manager at your school.
CHCCS also uses these social media accounts to announce closings, delays and early dismissals:
The following local news sources are notified of districtwide closings, delays or early dismissals. However, information may be incomplete due to space constraints:
Note: Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and Orange County Schools are two separate school districts. When receiving local news reports, please be sure you are aware of the decisions of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.