Given the comments that have been posted on Facebook as a result of the Jeffco Public School District closure today, it seems important to have a deeper discussion about this topic. It's nothing new that we've struggled with the vast differences between weather, and whether or not school should be canceled, between the mountain schools and those at the base of the Foothills.
There are a lot of factors that go into the decision to close: the weather forecast for the whole day, extremely low temperatures and possible snow/ice accumulation, safety of the kids and staff throughout the day, being able to get them home, facilities capabilities, transportation capabilities, etc. Jeffco is challenged by having a large district with significantly varying weather between all their schools, and there are crucial logistical challenges to consider if they were to try to treat them as two different "districts." Nevertheless, it's not a perfect system, and we can only help improve it by having open, thoughtful communication with school administrators. Please be sure to share your suggestions/ideas/experiences with them - they have our kids best interests at heart for sure! Jeffco Public Schools Contact Us Page
This is the letter that Jeffco Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jason Glass wrote on their Snow Closure Policy and posted to Jeffco Public Schools Central Transportation Facebook Page:
Thank you to all the families that were patient with us yesterday.
Below is a note from our Superintendent Dr. Jason Glass
January 28, 2019
Dear Jeffco Public Schools Families and Staff,
In the midst of what is turning out to be a snowy winter, I am writing to remind you of our inclement weather policies. Covering over 770 square miles, Jeffco Public Schools includes metro and foothills areas, as well as mountain communities. It is unusual for our schools to close and we do not have a district late start policy.
While our county, municipalities, and CDOT are expert snow removers, sometimes the timing of an incoming storm impacts the ability to stay ahead of accumulation. This was the case this morning when the brunt of the storm rolled in later than anticipated and delivered more snow than originally forecasted in some areas like Arvada, Golden, Broomfield, and Westminster. While traffic and road conditions this morning impacted the timeliness of some of our buses, we did not have any significant bus incidents or extreme late arrivals. Our schools were flexible with late arrivals and will always excuse a student absence when called in by a parent or guardian.
When considering a snow closure, we rely on many data sources to inform our decision. These include CDOT and Jeffco County Road & Bridge Department, Skyview Weather Service and other real-time forecast services, first-hand road inspections by staff and community volunteers living in our neighborhoods, forecasts for later in the day, and input from Jeffco Transportation Services. The safety and security of our students and staff is always our top priority. We make the best decision possible given the information we have and the timing with which we need to make the call.
We make our open or closed decision by 4:45 a.m. in order to accommodate school bus dispatch, food services deliveries, site crews, and substitute teacher arrangements. We publicly announce a closure and notify families by 6 a.m.
School closures are announced through a variety of channels: posted first on our District website, Twitter and Facebook pages, then email, text, and phone messages sent to families and staff using SchoolMessenger. Local media will also be notified. Parents should ensure their contact information and emergency contacts are correct in JeffcoConnect and follow us on social media.
Our first priority is the physical safety of all students and employees. There are many other considerations that go into the decision. Are any roads closed? Are businesses closed? Can our school buses and snow removal teams do their jobs? Will we be able to provide meals? Are we being cautious enough about using a day so we don’t need to add more days in the summer? Ultimately, do all these factors, and more, justify disrupting 85,000 student families and 14,000 employee schedules, plus the expense to the school district?
Decisions on school closures are ultimately judgements that must be made based on the best information available at the time. We respect that others may have made different decisions. We evaluate each weather event independently based upon all the factors and information we have available.
I appreciate the calls and messages we received from concerned parents and hope that the details included in this message and on web page below help to answer your questions. Remember that you have the ultimate responsibility for the safety and well-being of yourself and your children. Parents can always decide not to send their children to school on a snowy day if they feel it is unsafe.
For more information on our closure process go to: Snow Closure Process
Jason E. Glass, Ed. D.
Superintendent & Chief Learner
Jeffco Public Schools
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From Lauren Achziger on our Facebook Page:
Elk Creek Elementary will be addressing the Jeffco Public Schools Snow Closure Policy issue at the SAC meeting on Monday next week - parents are welcome to attend to give their feedback and input on this as well. The meeting starts at 4:30pm.
Parents are welcome to stay for the PTA meeting immediately following at 6pm.
Location: Elk Creek Elementary, 13304 US Highway 285, Pine CO 80470
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