Snow joke – Re-1 calls first snow day in 8 years |

Snow joke – Re-1 calls first snow day in 8 years

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson John Harr, 12, laughs with Joshua Graham, 14, right, after sliding into a tree sledding down the Eighth Avenue sidewalk Wednesday morning in Glenwood. Skylar Ebeler, 11, left, joined in on the snow day fun.

The Roaring Fork Valley’s 3-plus inches of snow Wednesday morning gave Glenwood Springs more than just slick roads – it gave school kids an unscheduled vacation. Because of icy roads and low visibility early in the morning, Roaring Fork School District Re-1 officials called a snow day for the first time in about eight years. The district’s last snow day was during the 1996-97 school year, said Superintendent Fred Wall. Reports of blowing snow and icy conditions in El Jebel around 5 a.m. prompted the district to close schools, he said. “I’ve been here going on 23 years and this is about the fourth snow day,” said Re-1 transportation director Larry Estrada. “Some people are mad because we did call it, and some people are not. But you can’t make everyone happy. We try and do the best we can.”Glenwood Springs Elementary School received a few angry phone calls from parents who were upset school had been canceled, prompting Principal Sonya Hemmen to send out an e-mail informing parents why school was canceled.

But most parents and teachers were glad officials erred on the side of safety, Hemmen said. “Most people were delighted,” she said. “I would guess that today is Take Your Child to Work Day.”She said the snow day gave the district a chance to test its phone trees that are in place to notify parents and faculty about school closures. But one challenge Re-1 faces is informing Spanish-speaking parents about school cancellations. “In the very early mornings there are no Spanish radio broadcasts, so we will need to determine an effective way to communicate with our non-English parents in the future,” Wall said.

Though it’s unclear how many students were turned away at each school because they didn’t get the message that school had been canceled, some school officials said their notification system worked well. Many schools’ phone answering systems informed parents school had been canceled. Carbondale Middle School Principal Cliff Colia said that though the school’s phone tree hadn’t been used in ages, “it worked out just great. (There were) no problems at all.”For days like Wednesday when only a small amount of snow accumulated downvalley, the district has considered delaying school instead of canceling it for the entire day, he said. “We have considered it and will consider it in the future,” he said. “One difficulty is that we need to be clear about how a late start effects pre-school and half-day kindergarten.”Varying weather conditions throughout the district are also a major factor in deciding whether to delay or cancel school on a snowy day.

“If the weather clears in one area, but not in another, the delay can be effective in one area and ineffective in another area,” Wall said. Despite that the district has held school in worse weather, the bottom line, Hemmen said, is safety. With the icy roads, “it would have been unsafe for kids to come to school,” she said. Contact Bobby Magill: 945-8515, ext.

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