Another snow day: Students thrilled, parents not
10/27/2009 10:41:14 PM MDT
SNOW1251.JPG Carter Lyman gets dethroned as king-of-the-hill on Farrand Field on the CU Boulder Campus Wednesday afternoon.
Photo by Paul Aiken / The Camera / Oct 28, 2009 (PAUL AIKEN)
The Boulder Valley School District is closed Thursday.
The St. Vrain Valley School District is closed Thursday.
The University of Colorado will decide by 6 a.m. whether to reopen the campus Thursday. Updates are available online at colorado.edu or by phone at 303-492-INFO (4636).
The Munchkin Masquerade: Any decision to cancel or reschedule the children's Halloween event in downtown Boulder, scheduled for 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday, will be made by noon. Check boulderdowntown.com.
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Boulder High junior Marnie Manning and her friends could be heard giggling in the aisles at Safeway about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday as they picked up bacon, hash browns and pancake mix for a late-morning "snow day" breakfast.
After their meal, Marnie said, they planned an afternoon of watching movies.
"This is awesome," she said.
But some parents -- who found the roads to be wet but safe -- criticized the Boulder Valley School District's decision to close schools Wednesday.
Schools in Boulder Valley are closed again Thursday, as are schools in the St. Vrain Valley School District.
"I think it's crazy the kids are off school," Hilary Greenhalgh said Wednesday while shopping with her kindergarten-aged daughter, Charlotte. "The roads are just fine."
Joe Sleeper, Boulder Valley's assistant superintendent of operations, said a lot goes into a district's decision to close, starting with forecasts and driving reports: "We generally look at road conditions and our ability to transport kids safely."
On Wednesday, it wasn't the morning commute that had officials worried.
"We knew a big band of the storm was coming in about midday, and it could hit during our dismissal period," Sleeper said.
St. Vrain Valley spokesman John Poynton said the Longmont-based district chose not to cancel classes Wednesday because the area received less snow than other parts of Boulder County, and the roads were safe.
But with roads expected to become icy overnight, St. Vrain Valley and Boulder Valley both announced Wednesday evening that schools would be closed Thursday.
"The information we got from the National Weather Service and other sources is that we're going to see falling temperatures, more snow and high winds," Poynton said. "There's a very high probability that we'll have a sheet of ice on the roads (Thursday) morning. That's completely different from the situation (Wednesday)."
Officials said they wanted to give parents who work enough time to make alternative arrangements for their children Thursday.
"We try to limit closures as much as possible because of the disruption to family schedules," said Boulder Valley spokesman Briggs Gamblin. "But student safety is the most important factor."
Ashley Maxwell was among the Boulder County parents inconvenienced Wednesday because of the closures. While she stocked shelves at Safeway in Boulder, her 4-year-old son, Griffin, played "army men" on a box at the end of an aisle.
"It's OK for me to bring him to work because he's pretty self-entertained," Maxwell said. "But I was a little frustrated."
When asked if he enjoyed the snow day, Griffin said he did but added that it wasn't necessary. "What's the big point?" he said.
"I think he heard that from me," Maxwell said.
For parents who work for the Boulder Valley School District, like Sharon Posthumas, the snow day was a welcome break.
"It was fabulous," Posthumas said. "It's better than getting stuck at school, because that's happened."
When she learned about the closure, Posthumas said, she tip-toed into her 12-year-old son's room and turned off his alarm.
"I wanted him to sleep in," she said. "When he woke up, he came running down the stairs in a panic."
Mark Castleman, a Boulder High teacher who lives in Westminster, left his house before learning of the closures.
"I made it to school to see an empty parking lot," Castleman said. "Since things were nice and quiet, and there was no line at the copier, I made some copies and graded some papers."
The University of Colorado campus closed at 2 p.m. Wednesday because of the storm. Officials said they will decide whether to reopen the campus Thursday by 6 a.m. Updates will be available online at colorado.edu or by phone at 303-492-INFO (4636).
CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard said university officials will start monitoring the weather around 3 or 4 a.m. Thursday.
"The weather in Colorado being so subject to change on such short notice, we don't feel it makes sense to make a decision before the morning," he said Wednesday night.