Safety first when it comes to snow days

  • Tue Jan 24th, 2012 7:05pm

<b>SCHOOLS | </b>By Katie Murdoch Herald writer

After an unexpected week of snowball fights and sledding, students in the Edmonds School District are back in class this week.

Edmonds was one of eight school districts in Snohomish County that canceled classes during last week’s “snowmageddon.” The winter storm of wet snow rolled through the county, leaving slick roads, power outages and threats of flooding.

And while students more than likely played in the snow, district officials worked to ensure all the students were safe.

The decision to cancel classes is made by the district’s superintendent after consulting with the district’s director of transportation. Transportation officials drive across the roads throughout the 35-mile wide district to decide if conditions are safe to drive to and from school.

Ultimately, safety comes first for all students, family and staff in the district’s 33 schools and 20,000 students, district spokeswoman DJ Jakala said.

“We must make a determination of safety for all these sites and students and often it is difficult because one area may be worse than another,” Jakala wrote in an email.

The decision was a bit easier last week with nearly every district in the Puget Sound region shutting down Wednesday through Friday, she added.

“Our thanks to maintenance and custodial staff who work to ensure our schools do not suffer damage during these inclement weather situations either from loss of heat or leaks during the melt-down,” Jakala wrote.

Last week was the first time the district used a recorded message in Spanish to reach 1,400 students at nearly 900 homes. Traditional methods also were used, including alerting TV and radio stations of delays and closures and sending voice mails and emails to parents.

Summer vacation in the Edmonds School District is postponed by three days with school ending on June 25, assuming there aren’t further school cancellations. District officials penciled in two make-up days just in case they’re dealt another hand of inclement weather.

After all, winter isn’t over yet.

Updated school calendar

Edmonds School District’s updated calendar because of the snow days:

• Tuesday, June 19 is now a full day of school

• Wednesday, June 20 is now a full day of school

• Thursday, June 21 is now a full day of school

• Friday, June 22 is now an early release

• Monday, June 25 is now an early release and the last day of school