Roaring Fork School District plans for snowy days
September 25, 2006
Enough snow has yet to fly to cause problems for local school buses, but the Roaring Fork School District has already begun planning for the depths of winter.Superintendent Judy Haptonstall, in a written statement, alerted parents about the district’s special communication systems to let parents, teachers and others know if the buses will not be running because of snow.The district, which encompasses schools in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, made a controversial school-closure call last year based on reports of an unexpectedly heavy snow one day early last winter.The weather ended up clearing that day, and the closure of the schools angered many parents and somewhat embarrassed the district. Officials stood by their decision, however, and said that the roads were not safe for bus travel at the time.District officials monitor weather developments through satellite bulletins and what Haptonstall termed “a system of weather watchers stationed in each community to provide real-time information.”She said that volunteers located in remote areas served by school buses call in as early as 2 a.m. on a snowy day to talk with officials about possible safety hazards. Other information comes in from county snowplow drivers and the Colorado State Patrol. All the weather and road-condition data goes into a decision by 5:30 a.m. as to whether the buses will roll.The decision is immediately relayed to local law enforcement agencies and recorded on the school district’s “closure line” at 384-6075. It also goes out to numerous radio and television stations that serve the area, including radio stations KAJX, KDNK, KSPN, KSNO, KGLN/KMTS, KOA/850 and Radio Tri-Color, and several regional television stations.In addition, each of the district’s principals starts a “phone tree” to inform staff members of the closure, Haptonstall said, adding that principals report to their buildings in case students arrive despite the communication effort.Parents needing further information should contact their local school or the district office at 384-6000.