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Snow Days Update

snow days

Once again, as winter weather means coats and gloves come out of storage, we also need to dust off our process for critical decisions about safe school operations during winter weather events. In addition to our quick-response plans that manage our campuses during precipitation and freezing conditions, D49 may also call a traditional “snow day” closing the district when current conditions and the forecast indicate we cannot safely carry out normal operations.

More than 2,700 people shared thoughts in a D49 ThoughtExchange seeking our community’s preference for closures or E-Learning. Resoundingly, the D49 Family expressed a preference to resume “snow days”... acknowledging the disruption, but observing that an occasional, traditional, “snow day” is valuable as we’ve emerged from a difficult season of learning. The recurring themes revealed by this exchange validate the thoughts of our school leaders who prefer to restore a system of delays and cancellations.

We will continue our practice of making weather decisions early to provide ample time to make arrangements for a day home from school. Although conditions may vary around the region when we have a winter weather event, a district-wide closure significantly reduces the risk for students and staff who must travel across the district for school or work. We have also determined that a delayed start is most effective for late developing weather patterns where observations clearly forecast improving conditions within two hours of the typical start of the day. Weather conditions that make a two-hour delay the best option are rare, so we do not anticipate many delay calls.

Our work to continue learning through the COVID-19 public health emergency puts us in position to rapidly deploy E-Learning, which we will utilize in the event we exhaust our available snow days. Falcon High School, which forged an early pathway to incorporate E-Learning on bad weather days, will readjust to align with the district to close or delay when declared. The Campus, which houses our blended learning schools (Springs Studio for Academic Excellence, Pikes Peak Early College, Falcon Homeschool Program) in a shared location, will provide additional information directly to its students and families about its operations when the district calls a snow day.

As always, our first priority is the safety of students and staff all over the district. Because our bus and personal transportation routes support many students and staff who travel across zones, we make our weather calls by evaluating overall conditions that might put students or staff at risk anywhere in the district. For more information, please go to our Weather Conditions page at D49.org.