In the lane, snow is glistening…
By Susan Helton
Snow can be a beautiful sight, and yet can also be one of the most challenging things about living in Colorado. When snow is expected, parents can have a difficult time predicting whether their schools will be delayed or closed. The Douglas County School District (DCSD) has several procedures in place for addressing inclement weather. Look to the DCSD website for school closure status and delayed start information. Delay and closure information will also be available on the District’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as from local television and radio stations.
DCSD’s “snow team” of staff members, including experienced bus drivers and grounds people, starts early in the morning monitoring and relaying information about conditions throughout the District and at the schools. Based on the forecast and the team’s recommendation, the superintendent decides whether a closure or delay is warranted. Because the district is divided into three regions, DCSD might only close or delay schools by regional area, rather than the entire district.
Several winter conditions can trigger delay and closure recommendations. If snow is accumulating at a rate of one inch or more per hour or if the wind chill reading poses a danger during the morning walking and bus pick-up period, a closure or delay could be indicated. Other factors, like blizzard conditions or blowing and drifting snow can also trigger a closure or delay. The decision about after-school activities sometimes occurs later in the day. The District always respects parents’ decisions to keep their students home.
DCSD utilizes a variety of communication tools to quickly share school closure or delay information with the community. In addition to the website, a “school messenger” service is available to send text message notifications of school delays and closures. To opt-in to this service, login to your Parent Portal account and make sure that “Text (SMS)” is selected in your contact preferences for any type of message that you want to receive. Select “Emergency” for snow closure updates. Then opt-in for emergency text notification on your cell phone by texting “YES” to 68453.
For more information about snow day criteria, the weather closure status of your school, or start times in the event of a delay, visit www.dcsdk12.org/school-closure-status.