Thank you to each student, parent, teacher and staff member for your handling of today’s (10/26) inclement weather and challenging road conditions. The first measurable snowstorm of a school year is usually the most unsettling as judgment and procedures are tested and students, parents and staff wait to hear how their district has decided to respond to weather conditions.
I think that it would be helpful to review the process BVSD follows in assessing conditions, making a decision about holding school, and communicating that decision as quickly and effectively as possible to our families and employees. First, though, I would like to address power outages and our response to them.
Power outages at one or more of our 51 school buildings can and often do occur in snowstorms. In the fall and spring they are typically caused by heavy wet snow pulling down a power line. In the cold of winter, they are often the result of high winds that accompany blizzard conditions. In almost every case, we have found that 1) the school building remains the safest place for students and staff and 2) the utility company places a high priority upon restoring a school building’s power. I want to thank Xcel Energy for their prompt attention to restoring power to the few affected Boulder and Broomfield schools this morning (10/26). Below is a reminder of how BVSD determines our response to inclement weather conditions:
BVSD Transportation Division tests the roads as early as 2 or 3 a.m. on mornings when snow accumulation and other adverse conditions are of particular concern. Staff members monitor a variety of weather forecasting sources as well as the decisions made by other regional public entities. A number of factors are considered, such as safe access, how the weather system and road conditions will progress, temperature, etc. A decision is generally made by 5:00 a.m. but no later than 6:30 a.m. Possible decisions include delaying the start time of schools by an hour or two, closing the four BVSD mountain schools, or closing all schools in the district.
The first notice of a closure or delay is always posted on the district website at www.bvsd.org
. Starting this year, a notification will then be sent to all staff and parents via the SchoolMessenger system. That notification will be delivered as an email, phone call, and as a text message for those who have opted in to receiving texts from BVSD. We highly recommend that people opt in for this SMS service, because the text messages deliver within a couple of minutes. It may take the system up to an hour to complete all the phone calls for staff and parents in BVSD. Learn more about our emergency notification system at http://www.bvsd.org/frontnews/Pages/EmergencyNotificationSystem.aspx
Our Communications Division sends out a notice on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, and they contact local media including television, radio and newspapers. Calling 303-447-1010 is another good way to find out if the district is closed, because our receptionist changes the greeting on that main phone number so that it tells about any closures or delays in both English and Spanish.
When there are no notices, that means there are no closures or delays and school will be held as usual. Except in very rare instances (such as the Gold Hill delay this morning), the latest that a morning notification of closures or delays will be given is 6:30 a.m. Parents always have the option to keep children home.
Thanks again for everyone’s assistance as we worked through the first snow storm of the season. The safety and well-being of students and staff is always our highest priority.