Local students enjoy a rare snow day
January 5, 2017
EAGLE — If P.E. is short for Powder Education, which it should be, then local students received full credit on Thursday.
Eagle County Schools called a rare snow day on Thursday.
It went mostly as follows.
On Wednesday, Eagle County schools canceled all after school activities, and while they were at it, the school district's powers that be talked about the potential for declaring a snow day on Thursday.
“Now we have kids in high school who can say they’ve had two snow days.”Tammy SchiffCommunications director, Eagle County school district
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They broke out all kinds of charts, graphs and data, and determined that the worst — or best — of the storm would hit between 5 a.m. and mid-afternoon, which it did.
Superintendent Jason Glass made the final determination early on Thursday when he sat behind the wheel of his minivan around 4:30 a.m. and drove around several schools.
That was enough to convince him.
The ultimate goal, of course, is to keep students safe, said Tammy Schiff, the school district's communications director.
late starts and cancellations
A majority of local kids arrive at school by bus and those buses start rolling out at 6 a.m. That means crews would have to have the schools have to be dug out before those buses could deliver their precious cargo.
So, the emails and phone calls started going out at 5:03 a.m., stating that Thursday would be a rare snow day.
Local students had one in 2016, their first in years.
"Now we have kids in high school who can say they've had two snow days," Schiff said.
The school district builds snow days into their school calendar, to make sure our little blessings from above don't miss class time.
Most schools around our area of the state were either canceled or started late.
For a few brief moments, Eagle County school officials considered a late start on Thursday.
But then, if the snow kept coming — which it did — and they had to cancel classes to let kids go early, it wouldn't make much sense, Schiff said.
Still no Lake County snow day
Lake County, home to the highest school district in North America, has been holding classes since mining began in 1860. It has had one snow day in all of that time, which occurred in 2012.
Lake County appears to have planned ahead this year. Their winter break runs through this week, so even though the Lake County Panthers received as much snow as everyone else, they were already out of school.
Snow days rare in our region
Eagle County Schools last canceled classes for weather on Feb. 2, 2016. Prior to that, they called snow days on Jan. 30, 2014 and Feb. 8, 2008.
To find the next previous snow days, you have to all the way back to the year 1982. Students went to school that day, but it snowed more than a foot between the opening bell and 11 a.m. Students were loaded on the buses and taken home before it became any worse.
Before 1982, you could count school closings on one hand. Battle Mountain High School, back when it was in Eagle-Vail, closed once because of frozen pipes, but no one can quite remember when. Memories of longtime residents seem to recall one other snow day in the 1970s.
A decade or so ago, schools closed when an avalanche closed a highway, probably U.S. Highway 24, and the school district couldn't bus students around. There was some talk about sending kids from the western end of the valley to school, but in the end, the district closed school for everyone.