School Closings/Delays Procedure

School Closings/Delays Procedure

Putnam County School System -- Reviewed/Revised:  November 11, 2019
Inclement Weather Procedure -- School Delays/Closure Determination (view printable document)

As a reminder to all Putnam County citizens, the Putnam County School System uses multiple means of communication to announce school closings and/or any change of the status of our schools for inclement weather or any other emergency which presents a threat to the safety of students, staff members or school property.

If Putnam County receives inclement weather overnight that does or is reasonably expected to create hazardous conditions, the PCSS inclement weather team including the Director of Schools, Assistant Director of Schools, members of the PCSS transportation department, and other district supervisors will begin gathering the latest available information by monitoring and/or contacting the following:
  • National Weather Service
  • Putnam County Office of Emergency Management
  • Putnam County Highway Department
  • Tennessee Department of Transportation
  • Putnam County Sheriff’s Department
  • Other School Systems - Upper Cumberland Area/Middle Tennessee Area
  • Local Media Sources for weather information:  Clear Channel Communications and STONECOM radio stations
  • Regional TV Media Sources for weather information:
    • WKRN Channel 2
    • WSMV Channel 4
    • WTVF Channel 5
    • WZTV Channel 17
The Inclement Weather Team will deliberately and directly check roads across the county to assess driving conditions and report the conditions to the Director of Schools.  

Per Putnam County Board of Education Policy 1.801, the Board authorizes the Director of Schools to close schools in the event of hazardous weather or any other emergency which presents a threat to the safety of students, staff members or school property.  As soon as the decision to close schools is made, the Director of Schools will notify the public media and request that an announcement is made.  Based on the input and insight of many, the Director of Schools makes the final decision to dismiss school.  

A final decision will be made as early as possible
.  The school system strives to make closure or delay announcements the night before (by/before 9:00 PM), if credible information is available. In the event an early morning decision is necessary, the district will not begin calling parents until after 5:30 AM.  

Once a decision is made that results in a change in the status of schools (e.g., closing, delay, early dismissal, etc.), the Director of Schools will notify media sources and activate the school system’s automated mass communication system (SchoolMessenger) to all parents, faculty, and staff using the primary contact information (phone numbers and emails) listed in PowerSchool.  Until or unless a change in the status of schools is reported, schools and associated services should be assumed to OPEN at the regular time.

The PCSS website ( and Facebook page (pcsstn) will be updated with the information following any decision.  In addition, the Nashville TV media stations will be contacted to report any closings, delays, or early dismissals.  In all cases, the outlets directly managed by PCSS and our local radio broadcast partners will be the official and most current information (School Messenger contacts; PCSS website; PCSS social media; Zimmer Broadcasting stations; STONECOM Radio stations; 


When schools open on a delayed start time, it simply means the official start time for each school will be delayed by the amount of time indicated by the announced delay. For example, our schools normally begin at 8:00 AM.  Therefore, schools would begin at 10:00 a.m. on delayed days announced as a “two (2) hour delay.”



When conditions and/or circumstances develop that require an early release of schools, the decision will be communicated via all school system mass communication systems (SchoolMessenger; PCSSTN website; PCSSTN social media) as soon as possible.  The school system will always strive to provide as much lead time as possible prior to any release for parents to make arrangements, whenever possible.



Buses will run when schools are open unless the school system notifies parents otherwise.   The amount of time indicated for the announced delay or an early dismissal will also apply to the normal bus stop times.  For example, if a student’s bus normally arrives at the designated bus stop at 6:15 AM each morning, the adjusted pick-up time if a two (2) hour delay is announced would be 8:15 AM.


For parents that utilize the PCSS School Age Care (S.A.C.) program, a snow day plan will be communicated by the program director.

LEAPS and 21st Century Programs will be canceled when schools are closed.  Any other necessary changes in the status of these programs will be communicated to the participating families by the school-based program director and/or the district Extended Learning Programs coordinator.

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