Big Changes Coming This Winter: Get in the Know About Snow Closures

Red mulberry at sunsetDealing with snow used to be so easy. The kids would rejoice over an unexpected respite from homework, the shelves at the market would be empty, hardware stores were out of sleds and workout clothes lay unused on the chair. In the past, if Fairfax County Public Schools closed, Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) facilities were closed, too.

But no more! We heard your concerns loud and clear. We’ve listened to our customers, and we’re changing our ways. Beginning November 1, 2015 new procedures will be in place to deal with weather-related cancelations and closures this winter. Unless Fairfax County closes all county facilities, RECenters and other park facilities will remain open for general use. Classes, team practices, parties and even weddings will go on as planned at Park Authority facilities, unless canceled by the customer or FCPA.

The school system has a tough call to make. It’s a big county, and while your road might be clear, others may be slipping and sliding on roadways the snow plows have yet to find. Some days, the schools may struggle with arctic temperatures that are just too darn cold for kids to be standing at bus stops or for buses to start.

Getting in your workout or taking your kids to a tumbling class is not worth the risk if you live on a treacherous road. Our refund policy will remain flexible as we all figure out the best way to make this change. But if you’re lucky enough to see pavement and want to crank up the heat in your car, the Park Authority will be there for you with drop in fitness classes, warm pools and programs at as many park venues as practicable. Sure, there may be some glitches, some troubles getting the word out or cancelations beyond our control. We will deal them and work hard to improve those situations in the future.

Here’s what you need to know:

If Fairfax County Government is closed all day, Fairfax County Park Authority facilities are closed all day, too. Simple, right? That means FCPA classes, camps and events held at RECenters or other Park Authority facilities are canceled.

If Fairfax County Government opens late, things gets a little more complicated. The FCPA will announce opening times for its RECenters and other facilities on its website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/ and on the Inclement Weather Line at 703-324-8661. If you’re into social media, you can find out through Facebook and Twitter – and you can always give the facility itself a call. If you’re part of a swim team or other group that rents space from the FCPA, check with that organization to see what they’ve decided to do. There are lots of ways to get in the know about the snow!

When the county opens late, FCPA classes, camps and events held at RECenters or other FCPA facilities that begin before 11 a.m. will be canceled. Events that begin at 11 a.m. or later will operate as scheduled, unless announced otherwise. We have to allow to some leeway for special circumstances.

Let your youngsters dawdle over breakfast. When the county opens late, the morning preschool programs at Lee District and Spring Hill will operate from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Afternoon preschool will run from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., unless announced otherwise.

If storms move in during the day and Fairfax County Government closes early, FCPA facilities will close for the rest of the day, beginning at the announced time. That means everything grinds to a halt – classes, camps, evening activities and anything else planned for a RECenter or other FCPA facility starting at the announced time. Morning preschool at Lee District and Spring Hill won’t be affected, but afternoon preschool may be canceled, at the announced time.

Do you take Park Authority classes such as dance or martial arts at a studio? Now, what happens if you’re enrolled in an FCPA program that is held at a private business location? In that case, the best thing to do is to call that site directly or get in touch with your instructor.

If you signed up for a day trip or tour, you might still be in luck. FCPA-sponsored bus tours will operate as scheduled, unless you get a phone call telling you the trip is off. You also can check for weather cancelations or changes on the Trips and Tours Hotline at 703-324-TOUR (8687).

However, if you’ve registered for an FCPA class or event that takes place in a Fairfax County Public School building, you may need to spend more time with the family. Obviously, if a school is closed, we can’t let you in. Any event scheduled during a time that schools will be closed will be canceled. If schools open late, FCPA classes will resume at the school when it reopens.

You spoke up last year about your frustration with all the closures and cancelations, and we listened. We hope the new changes will allow more FCPA classes and events to take place as scheduled during the area’s fickle winter weather.

So this winter, keep a weather eye on the barometer, take a deep breath and join us as we make the changes that you – our valued customers asked for. And remember you can find out all the details at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/weather/ or 703-324-8661.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized on by .

About Fairfax County Park Authority

HISTORY: • On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. • To date, 11 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2008. Another Park Bond Referendum will be held in November 2012. Today, the Park Authority has 420 parks on approximately 23,168 acres of land. We offer 371 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park System is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: o Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist. o Eight golf courses including Laurel Hill, our newest, upscale course and clubhouse located in Southern Fairfax County o Five nature and visitor centers. Also seven Off-Leash Dog Activity areas o Several lakes including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax o The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter o Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel o An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter o Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel o Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent o A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly o A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale o Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community o Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center o Provides 274 athletic fields, including 30 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 500 school athletic fields PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: • A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. %

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s