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Change to Inclement Weather Policy

Dear GISW Community

We would like to inform you that we have implemented a new Inclement Weather Policy effective January 1, 2019.

After much consideration, we decided that GISW will follow Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) with regard to school closings, delayed openings, early closures, and cancellation of evening activities due to inclement weather.

This decision is driven by our concern for the safety of all members of our community including Students, Parents, Faculty and Staff.  Our community includes Families, Faculty and Staff who live in a wide geographic range where conditions may vary, and also use different modes of transportation which can be affected by inclement weather. 

MCPS gathers information from many sources, including The National Weather Service, Accu-Weather, the news media, the State and County Highway Departments, and by actual inspection of roads, school driveways, and sidewalks throughout the county. Weather conditions in surrounding counties are also gathered and factored into forecasting conditions for Montgomery County students and students attending non-public schools in other areas. Information from these various sources is factored into the decision.

GISW builds five snow days in to our school calendar.  If school is closed for more than five days, we must make up missed days in order to be in compliance with Maryland State regulations. The SEBR recently conducted a survey among parents to determine GISW families’ preference for making up snow days and the largest percentage of families indicated that adding additional days at the end of the school year was the preferred method.  Please consider this when making travel and vacation plans for the Summer Break.

For the first five times that we have a school closing or 2-hour-delayed opening, we will still remind families that we are now following MCPS by providing notice of school schedule changes in the following ways:

  • School Messenger (Voice Message/Text/E-mail Notification System): Every member family and every GISW employee is automatically signed up.
  • GISW Hotline: 301.767.3850
  • GISW Website: www.giswashington.org
  • WTOP and local television and radio stations (Please note, that we cannot control when the media posts inclement weather updates.)

After this period, GISW will only update our website for closings or 2-hour-delayed openings.

However, for early afternoon closings (Plan C and Plan D) we will continue to provide notice via School Messenger, the GISW Hotline and Website. Please note, MCPS does not have an equivalent to our Plan D. Please refer to our website under Campus Life – Cancellation of Classes for more detailed information.

On a final note: In order to keep school telephone lines open for emergency calls, parents are urged not to call the main number concerning closings and delays. Please call the GISW hotline at 301.767.3850.

If you would like to receive school closing alerts in form of text, email or voice message directly from the Montgomery County Public School System, you can sign up for this service at the following link. If you are asked for a school name, you may want to select Seven Locks Elementary School, since that is closest to GISW. Please be aware that you will receive additional messages from the county. Only weather related messages for closings and two hour delays apply to GISW.

Options Overview: https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/emergency/sources.aspx

Direct link to signup for Montgomery County alerts: https://member.everbridge.net/index/1332612387832009#/signup

Sincerely,

Petra Palenzatis
Head of School

Delores Dean
Director of Administration

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