It’s that time of the year when weather can make our lives interesting.
While I had another topic for this week’s column, I thought it best to cover the weather procedures used in the district when considering changes in school schedules.
Our county consists of 1,700 square miles, and conditions vary greatly from one community to the next. When school is affected, the entire community will have felt an impact. Transportation options may be limited at times because of adverse conditions.
Clearly, parents count on school being in session when they must be at work. While our role is primarily educational, I do recognize the impact school closures have on families. When school can be open, we will do everything possible to make it so. We always recognize that conditions can vary from community to community, so parents are encouraged to make decisions based on conditions in their areas and the safety of their children. When a student is absent because of adverse conditions, the absence will be excused by the school administrator. Teachers will always work with students to make up missed work or content when absent for weather reasons. Keep in mind that we also have staff members who are affected based on where they live and expect them to arrive only when it is safe to do so.
On Monday of this week, we experienced a road closure that affected communities west of town. Roads in town, while slick in spots, were certainly open as were businesses. Buses could not navigate U.S. Highway 160 west of town and through Wildcat Canyon; however, those roads were open at times to private vehicle traffic.
It is easy to be an armchair quarterback on days when weather is challenging. Please know that my team members and I drive the roads early in the morning, speak with road crews, consult surrounding districts, consult with law enforcement and assess all areas of our district. Our decisions are based on the majority of the community and not any given community or region. Decisions are not made lightly and are done so with all impacts carefully considered.
Know that the operation of buses will always be a separate consideration. At times, road conditions may present too great a hazard to operate school buses. When a delay or cancellation of buses occurs, parents of students registered on that route will be notified as soon as possible by phone call, text and email (please make sure your information is updated at your school). Parents in those areas will also need to make a decision about whether they can transport their child safely to school. School bus cancellations will not cause school to be canceled for the remaining students. About 1,500 of our 5,000 students use our bus transportation system. Again, if parents can’t get their children to school when such cancellations occur, the students will be granted excused absences.
We do our best to make effective decisions on those challenging days in the interest of the safety of our students and the support of our families, who count on us to care for their children. Updates can always be found on our websites, our social sites, through our reverse notification system and on our information line, (970) 375-3811.
Email Durango School District 9-R Superintendent Dan Snowberger at DSnowberger@durango.k12.co.us.Editor’s note: A previous version of this article listed an incorrect email address for Dan Snowberger.