Snow and ice cause school delays and closures
YAKIMA, Wash.- On the first day back from winter break, many schools in the valley had two hour delays and cancellations due to the icy roadways.
"The weather is very unpredictable. I was a little surprised this morning, but we had some really icy and unsafe conditions. The conditions got worse the more west you went in our district," said Superintendent Dr. Mike Brophy.
Brophy says West Valley School District is one of the first districts in the morning to make the decision.
"Our buses usually start rolling at about 5:15 a.m. to get the kids that live the furthest out. This morning, no one else had made a decision by 5:15 a.m. So we made the decision at 5:05 a.m. that we will be two hours late," said Brophy.
Rather than checking the forecast, each school district's transportation department wakes up around 4 a.m. to check the road conditions.
"There were several things that happened this morning, the roads were really icy. Another thing to take in consideration is if the county and the city trucks are out," said Debbie Heide, Selah School District Transportation Director.
Once the final decision is made, even if school is in session and a snow storm hits, they still have to go as planned. If schools get too many cancellations, Brophy says schools usually have a few days added within the yearly schedule to prepare for it.
"So if you have a snow day before that, then you would use one of those as a make up day. If you don't have that availability in your calendar, then you have to add school days at the end of the school year," said Brophy.
Brophy says the most days West Valley School District has added on to a school year is a couple days in recent years. Throughout every morning decision, Heide says the number one thing is safety.
"It's a lot better to make it up later and be safe," said Heide.