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Closing/Delaying school due to severe weather or emergencies

One of the major concerns of parents is what happens when schools are delayed or closed due to severe weather (snow, ice, flooding, hurricanes, etc.) or emergencies. The Hampton School Division has an Emergency Dismissal Plan which is immediately activated when severe weather threatens or an emergency is present.

Go to: HCS Emergency Plan

photo of two kids playing in the snow on a sled

photo of a bus covered in snowClosing/Delaying school due to severe weather or emergencies
One of the major concerns of parents is what happens when schools are delayed or closed due to severe weather (snow, ice, flooding, hurricanes, etc.) or emergencies. The Hampton School Division has an Emergency Dismissal Plan which is immediately activated when severe weather threatens or an emergency is present.

How is the decision made to close schools?
When severe weather is forecast, representatives from the HCS Transportation Department road-test major thoroughfares and side streets across the city beginning at approximately 4 a.m. Input regarding road conditions is also obtained from the Hampton Police Division, and weather updates are monitored constantly.

Who makes the decision to close schools?
The superintendent of Hampton City Schools makes this decision. After receiving data and recommendations from the director of School Transportation, and considering the time and severity of the inclement weather, the superintendent makes a decision no later than 5 a.m. for schools to close, delay opening for 2 hours, or to open under the regular schedule. However, should we experience severe weather during the evening hours, a decision about school closing will be made in time to be announced on the 11 p.m. television news, and parents will be informed through our emergency messaging system as well.

How does the public learn about the decision?

As soon as a decision has been reached regarding school delays or closings, our telephone emergency messaging system will automatically dial your primary telephone number to directly inform parents. In addition, our PEG-TV cable station will broadcast the message continuously across its screen on Cox Channel 46 and FIOS Channel 20. Information may also be obtained via the HCS switchboard, which can be accessed by calling 727-2000. In addition, we notify local television stations and we place the HCS decision on our school division’s website, (, Twitter and Facebook page. The City of Hampton’s 311 Call Center is also notified of our decision.

NOTE: PLEASE do not call the individual schools, as this will tie up telephone lines.

What if weather worsens while school is in session?
Sometimes after the decision has been made to open schools, we may find that the weather has taken a turn for the worse. If weather conditions worsen while students are in school, our emergency messaging system will notify parents/guardians by telephone directly of the school division’s plans. In addition, the media will be informed of those plans as well. However, we have found that since many of our schools are designated as city shelters, school is often the safest place for students to be until our regular dismissal time has been reached. We urge parents to have a contingency plan developed for their child should an emergency develop and we have to institute an early dismissal.

What About Hurricanes?
Hurricane season begins June 1 and lasts until November 30, with our peak period being August and September. If a hurricane should threaten our area, the school division will be given specific direction by the City of Hampton’s Emergency Management Office. Of course, this information will be widely disseminated via the local media.

In the event of an evacuation, several routes available to Hampton citizens are listed in the Verizon Peninsula phone book. However, if we are able to remain in the area during the hurricane, several of our schools have been designated as city shelters. They are Bethel, Phenix and Andrews. These shelters will be opened as needed, and that decision will be made by the City’s Office of Emergency Management. For more information on hurricane preparedness, call the City’s 311 Call Center.

©2017 HAMPTON CITY SCHOOLS All rights reserved - One Franklin Street, Hampton Virginia 23669 - 757-727-2000

HCS does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age or other protected classes in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Robbin G. Ruth, Executive Director, Human Resources, One Franklin Street, Hampton, VA 23669 757-727-2000. 

1.     PURPOSE

Hampton City Schools (HCS) is committed to making its website accessible for all, including individuals with disabilities, and strives to ensure accessibility currently and as new technologies emerge.  The division welcomes questions and feedback on the site’s accessibility at each development phase.  By clicking on “Contact” at the upper right of the main webpage, all users are able to “Help Resolve a Concern,” “Share a Story,” “Provide Feedback,” and “Ask a Question.”  Additionally, the Contact Us page provides direct email access to HCS Webmaster Vickie Carper,


HCS’s computer systems and networks include all of the computer hardware, operating system software, application software, stored text, data files, electronic mail (email), local databases, externally accessed databases, CD-ROM, optical media, clip art, digital images, digitized information, communications technologies, and new available technologies. 


The HCS website is designed and monitored by HCS Webmaster Vickie Carper, who serves as the gatekeeper for website content and accessibility.   The Webmaster is under the direction of the Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing, supervised by the Director of Graphics.

Web visitors using assistive technology who may have trouble accessing information on the website may contact the HCS Webmaster,, the Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing,, and/or the Director of Graphics,

When submitting a question or concern via email, “accessibility” should be included in the subject line.  Every reasonable attempt will be made to address the user’s concern within twenty-four hours.  To assist HCS in responding appropriately, all inquiries should include the following information:

·      A description of the accessibility concern or question;

·      The webpage address of the requested material;

·      The format in which the user prefers to receive the material;

·      The user’s contact information, including preferred method of contact.

Some documents on the website are in a portable document format (PDF).  The Adobe website provides a free service to convert Acrobat PDF files to other formats, including text and HTML.  Adobe’s web-based tool will quickly change an Acrobat file into an HTML file or textile.  The online PDF conversion form is available on the online conversion tool for using Adobe Acrobat.  With this tool, users can read PDF files with a screen reader.  Adobe and the Trace Research Center also offer a free Acrobat conversion service that converts PDF files to text or HTML format by sending a user’s request via email.  All individuals with internet service can access the online conversion tool for using Adobe Acrobat PDF website.


HCS monitors all technology resource activity and requires all employees, students and individuals with access to HCS computer systems and networks to annually read and sign an Acceptable Use Policy.  See School Board Policy IIBEA for Students; School Board Policy GBBB for Employees.

Prior to posting new website content, the HCS Webmaster determines if the proposed content meets the criteria of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).  Periodically the HCS Webmaster checks the website with a recognized website checker such as 508 Checker and WAVE.  If the audit identifies issues of concern or content errors that impede accessibility to any user, the concerns/errors are evaluated and remedied within a six-week period.


HCS’s website and computer systems and networks are provided on an “as, as available” basis.  HCS makes no warranties, expressed or implied, without limitation, regarding the fitness for a particular purpose regarding any service provided by the system and any information contained or software used therein.  The division uses hardware and software provided by third-party technology vendors.  Therefore, the division does not warrant that the functions or services performed by, or that the information or software on the system, will meet the user’s requirements.