Frequently Asked Questions on School Closings Related to Weather

1. How will I know when schools are closed or delayed due to inclement weather?

A decision is made by 5:00 a.m. on the day(s) in question, and the media is notified at that time. A telephone message through Connect-Ed, (the system-wide internet-based telephone system) will notify parents of the decision. Weather closing information is posted on the district social media (Facebook and Twitter) and is available by calling the Stokes County Schools Administrative Office at 336-593-8146 and following the instructions for school closing information.

2. How will I receive notification of an early dismissal due to weather conditions if school is already in session?

A Connect-Ed telephone message will notify parents at home or at their place of employment. Please make sure that your emergency contact numbers are current at your child's school. The media will be notified as soon as a decision is made to dismiss students early due to inclement weather. School closing information is posted on the school system's website.

3. I work during the day and I don't want my child to be home alone. How will I know where my child will go if school is dismissed early?

Student safety is our number one priority when inclement weather occurs. Elementary and middle school parents have been asked to provide a written plan for their child when early dismissals occur for inclement weather. School administration will follow the plan unless they are notified differently. (Note: Parents should check with their child's school if they are unsure whether a written weather plan is available or when the plan is revised.)

4. Why are all schools in Stokes County canceled if roads are hazardous in only one part of the county?

The Stokes County School System is a consolidated school system comprised of 18 schools and follows a unified school calendar developed by state regulations and approved by the NC Department of Public Instruction. Therefore, all schools are closed when hazardous conditions exist only in one part of the county. This is standard practice across the state, and only varies when there is a city system within a county (as Elkin City is part of Surry County, but not a part of Surry County Schools). Frequently, city systems are able to go to school because they run fewer buses and city road crews have fewer streets to clear.

5. How will I know which roads will be traveled when inclement weather occurs?

Principals send home information about the roads in their district which will be traveled when limited bus routes are used. The information is also posted on each school's website.

6. If I cannot take my child to school due to inclement weather conditions, will he/she be counted absent?

Yes. Students must be in school in order to be counted present. However, the absence is an excused absence and school administrators and teaching staff will work with you and your child on make-up procedures for class time missed.

7. When it starts to snow during the day, why isn't school cancelled immediately?

It takes approximately two hours to get all our buses and drivers ready to move on a different schedule. Buses have to be re-fueled and drivers recalled to school. Many drivers work additional jobs, so finding drivers in inclement weather is a challenge. Because we are working with so many variables, school administrators are in constant contact with the weather service, and colleagues in nearby counties regarding weather and potential storm movement. The decision to dismiss school early is made as soon as possible, with top consideration given to bus safety and the safety of student drivers at the high schools.

8. How can I help?

If you are aware of any road condition which needs to be addressed, please contact our Transportation Department at 336-591-7169. On inclement weather days, someone is at the phone as early as 4:00 a.m. and your information will be shared directly with NCDOT. The NCDOT responds very quickly whenever the school system asks for road conditions to be addressed.

9. What about teen drivers?

We are always concerned about the safety of our teen drivers. With a lower level of experience driving in inclement weather, teen drivers are apt to take unnecessary risks. The decision to let any student drive to school on any given day, good or bad weather, is a parental decision. If you do not feel that your teen should drive during winter conditions, please contact the school to arrange bus transportation.