School districts drive roads to determine a snow day

Author: Kylee Cruz, KXLY4 Reporter, kyleec@kxly.com
Published On: Jan 29 2013 12:12:27 AM PST   Updated On: Jan 29 2013 10:31:15 AM PST
School districts drive roads to determine a snow day
SPOKANE, Wash. -

When the snow storms come through the Inland Northwest, the school districts around the region have to be prepared.

They need to determine if school needs to be canceled or delayed for the day because of the conditions. Most of the districts don't rely entirely on the weather forecast, they get out there in the middle of the night and test out the conditions themselves.

"Around 1:30 or 2 a.m. our Director of Transportation is out, he's actually driving the roads," Terren Roloff with Spokane Public Schools said.

Roloff says after a team of people have checked the roads, they touch base with the Superintendent and a decision to cancel or delay school is then made by 5 a.m.

"If we just rely on the forecast, those change as you know so having people out driving the roads is really the best way to do it," she said.

Kids in the Spokane Public School District got to enjoy a snow day last year. They also had one during the 2010-2011 school year and five back in 2008-2009. If they do call a "snow day," District 81 has a new system that can notify the entire district within the hour.

Over at the Central Valley School District, a similar procedure is in place.

"What we do is early in the morning, 3:30 or 4 a.m., we have some of our administrators and transportation staff drive the roads and they primarily go up into the hills and the southern and eastern parts of our district," Melanie Rose with the Central Valley School District said.

This year they have two snow make-up days built into the school calendar, just in case. Last year the district had one snow day. So far, this school year they haven't had any.

"We take student safety very serious but we also take student learning very seriously so it's a tough call," Rose said.