The overnight storm that rolled in Thursday night, and out Friday morning, had several school district close for a snow day, including the Cherry Creek School District.
Many parents were wondering why, because some of them hardly got snow in their areas, if any at all.
It was quite the conversation started on the Next Door page for Willow Creek.
One woman commented, "I know it is crazy. Evidently other schools in the district had bad weather. And Douglas county and Littleton are also closed. I think it's nuts."
And another wrote, "It does seem crazy that schools are closed, but I think some parts of the district may have gotten hit harder, not sure. The eastern part for instance. It's a very large district."
Part of the district did get hit with snow and parents agreed with the closure.
Before you know it, most of those parents were discussing the district's method of determining how/when to close schools within the district.
Well, we wanted to help. We contacted the district to ask them about what steps officials take in determining when to close schools.
They referred us to their website, which has a page dedicated to their school closure and storm information.
The procedure for determining whether schools will start on time, be delayed or closed is as follows:
- The district receives ongoing weather forecasts from AccuWeather and NOAA
- If snow is forecast, the superintendent, assistant superintendent of Facility Support and Transportation Department staff wakes at 3:00 AM, survey their immediate areas, and begin driving the district in quadrants
- Beginning at 3:30 AM, area drivers report conditions to the transportation director
- The director contacts neighboring districts to share information and probable recommendations
- The forecast is reviewed
- Before 4:30 AM, the director shares information and discusses potential recommendations with the assistant superintendent and superintendent.
- The superintendent reviews all available information and makes the final decision
- If a delay or cancelation is to be implemented, families will receive a ConnectEd call no later than 6 a.m. The Weather Hotline, 720-554-4701, is updated and notifications are sent to local media agencies and posted on the district website and social media.
- In rare cases it is possible for the district to make decision the evening before for the next day. When that happens, families will be notified between 9-10 p.m.
Because the Cherry Creek School District is 108 square miles conditions may vary in different areas of the district, even from neighborhood to neighborhood.
9NEWS also asked since the district is so widespread, why not just close the schools impacted versus schools within the entire district?
The CCSD spokesperson explained that in the statement below:
The Cherry Creek School District is spread across 108 square miles and weather conditions can vary greatly in different areas. Our transportation model is designed for the most efficient, cost-effective service possible. It would not be possible to create a new model for each unique situation in the limited time between when the decision is made and the start of schools without causing confusion for parents and schools.
We also have a large number of teachers who are also parents of students who do not attend the same schools in which they teach. Those teachers would need to stay home with their children causing teacher shortages in those schools that remained open, due to an ongoing shortage substitute teachers throughout the metro area.We understand the frustration that families feel when schools close or are delayed and their part of the district isn't as affected, and the impact that it can have on family schedules. We always strive to make the best decisions possible to ensure the safety of all of our students.