MCPS Introduces Color Code System: Concerns drawn about Scheduling and Management for Staff and Students


Montgomery County Public Schools

MCPS to use color coding to communicate school closures and delays.

On Jan. 13, 2023, Montgomery County Public Schools announced a new color-coding system to inform the community of school closings and delays. The system aims to improve communication between staff and students with better knowledge on school closures.


The new system has six color options, which serve as an indication of the status of the day. Green status signifies schools are open, yellow status represents a two-hour delay, blue status means an early release day, orange status means schools are closed, but offices will remain open, red status represents a county-wide school system closure, and purple status indicates a virtual learning day.


“The emerging system is an effort to improve the timeliness and clarity of critical communication and emergency preparedness,” assistant principal  Daniel Wagner said. “A color-coded system promotes uniformity and accessibility, complementing the communication that is already in place. Such a system relies on broad understanding and consistent implementation over time.”


MCPS’s daily color code will appear at the top of the official MCPS website. The new system will be in effect moving forward into the spring semester. 


“The safety of students and staff remains the top priority, and MCPS understands the inconvenience these situations can cause for families and staff. Operation changes due to emergency weather conditions are only made when necessary and after careful review,” MCPS stated in their post addressing the color-coding system.


Despite its recent introduction, staff and students raise concerns about time management and cooperation with the system. 


“If my children have school when Montgomery County is closed or vice versa, I feel like it would be difficult for me to teach my class while also having to take care of my children as they are still young,” English teacher Jackie Guers said, whose children attend school in Frederick County. “I believe that it is nice for parents to use a color coding system because once they become familiar with it, they will be able to recognize the system. But I do think that the system is efficient.”


While parents and teachers struggle with scheduling and management resulting from the new system, there is belief there will be potential improvement once it becomes more familiar. Some students believe that the system can be beneficial in RHS.


“It would make the emergency systems look better,” senior Seyed Mahmudi said. “It might hold the technical process a little bit and would make it a bit harder but also not that difficult.” 


There might be some difficulties when first learning to use the system, but Mahmudi believes it may get easier overtime once students become familiar so that it wouldn’t be difficult to use in the future.


Though this system raises concerns, members of the MCPS community suggest that there is  room for improvement that could make the system better. One proposed change would be the ensuring of accurate weather information so that a decision would be made to offer virtual learning the day before a potential weather event occurs.


“While school systems ultimately implement their own processes, uniformity in neighboring counties may promote even greater clarity and bolster overall safety efforts across Maryland schools,” Wagner said.


Currently, Montgomery County is the only county in Maryland to implement a color-coding system. Students, staff, and parents look forward in anticipation to see how this new change will affect the MCPS school system.


“When the weather is a concern, MCPS aims to ensure you are kept up to date with timely and accurate information,” MCPS Communication Officials stated.