The Scoop on Snow Days
A snow day has not yet been called for the 2017-2018 school year, and while there have been days when some students hoped for a snow day, many families face concerns other than safety when the snow does fall.
A heavy snowfall can negatively affect students in the event that school is not canceled.
Junior Emma Jones is one of the students whose morning is considerably affected when school is not canceled despite the snow.
“I life in Lafayette, so it’s like a 25 minute drive without traffic and it’s an hour and ten minute bus ride without traffic, and with traffic it’s a lot more,” Jones said. “We have to get up at 5 in the morning sometimes just to [be] on time.”
While Jones wanted a snow day, she did not expect school to be canceled.
“I don't think we should have had a snow day, but at least a late start because there was like half the school late that day. CU had a late start that day as well,” said Emma Jones.
Junior Hannah Trainor agrees that there should have been a delay.
“I don’t have first period, I have second period, and kids were arriving to school [then],” Trainor said.
The condition of the roads is impacted by heavy snowfall and can result in a snow day.
“When the roads are really truly impassable, those are the times when you close school,” said Randy Barber, the chief communications officer for BVSD.
According to Barber, many people are involved in collecting information during the night to determine whether or not a snow day should be called the next day, including bus drivers who go and drive the routes to school.
The chief operations officer is “largely responsible” for gathering the feedback from various people for the decision to cancel school or not, but ultimately it is the superintendent’s decision, according to Barber.
In addition to safety concerns, one of the issues that arises with snow days is child care.
“For parents who work and have little kids, that means that they don’t have anywhere to send their kid if they’re not going to be in school,” said social studies teacher Melissa Nelson. “That makes it harder especially for parents that can’t pay for daycare or don’t have family that they can leave their kids with and they don't want to leave them home alone.”
The Boulder Valley School District website has a page on school cancellations that reads “It is extremely important that working parents have pre-arranged child care available to them”.
The page suggests using neighbors, friends or a child care center to watch their child while they are at work.
“It’s not an easy decision and oftentimes we can’t make everyone happy,” Barber said.
According to Nelson, another issue that arises with snow days is the fact that many students rely on free and reduced meals that they receive at school.
“On the days that we don’t have school, they don’t get free and reduced lunch, and so that can add more economic burden on those families as well,” Nelson said.
According to the student demographics at Fairview published by BVSD in 2014, 168 students were receiving free lunch and 34 students received reduced lunch, and these students can be affected if school is canceled due to snow.
“We are certainly aware of these issues,” Barber said. “I know that other school districts have actually stated that that’s a reason that they stay open.”
Jones was not aware of these issues, but she said, “It’s kind of difficult because the school [...] can’t really be responsible for anything that happens outside of school, so they can’t really do much.”
Trainor suggested that one BVSD school could open its doors during a snow day “for kids to go eat.”
People have conflicting views on BVSD’s snow day decisions.
“I think in general [BVSD is] making the right calls,” Nelson said.
Trainor disagrees and thinks that BVSD’s snow day policy is too harsh.
“Especially last year [...] we should have had a ton of snow days,” Trainor said. “I ended up just staying home a lot because the roads were so bad.”