Today’s Freezing Rain Event by Randy Trani

I know that people may have questions about today’s early release due to the freezing rain.  The weather event was not forecast and district staff had to move quickly to react to the sudden change in weather.

Home of the East Wind
  • At about 12:30 the District received calls about freezing rain to the east of campus.
  • AT 12:45 district staff drove up the Historic Highway and made the decision to begin sending buses home as soon as possible for students that lived up the gorge or at higher elevations.
  • Transportation staff contacted all bus drivers and began to chain up buses as quickly as possible.  Buses that were headed up the Gorge or up to higher elevations were chained first.
  • Staff members contacted parents of students on the Road Runner Bus and the Mickey Mouse Bus to alert them that their students would be arriving home earlier than normal.
  • By 2:45 all of the buses had been prepared for the weather and an emergency alert now message was sent out to all contacts to alert them that all remaining bus students would be leaving school at about 3:10.
  • Other students were released at their normal release time unless parents made other arrangements.

Obviously, this was not a typical release.  I am very proud of staff members all of whom worked very quickly to analyze a quickly changing situation, and prioritize our actions to get students safely home.  Parents and students also should be commended for their flexibility in reacting to this situation.  At the same time we can learn from weather events like this and it is a good time to take stock of how our emergency notification system is functioning.

  • First, if you did not receive a phone message or an email at between 2:45 and 3:15 today please contact your student’s office to make sure that your contact information is up to date.  Over 3800 calls and nearly 2000 emails went out during that time period but it could be that we missed someone.
  • It is critical that you update your contact information each year at registration AND whenever your contact information changes.  While making personal calls to parents of students on the Road Runner Bus and on the Mickey Mouse Bus staff members ran into several instances when numbers  had be disconnected.
  • Student safety is always our first priority. If a student who rides a bus, particularly a young student, does not have access to their home (there is no one there to let them in) bus drivers will return the student to the school.
  • Some parents arrived to pick up their student AND other students.  This presents a problem for staff as we can not release students to other parents without prior approval.  You can update the list of people who are able to pick up your student at either the grade school or middle/high school office.
  • Students who were scheduled to stay after school for ” sports practice” presented another wrinkle.  Some students were not planning on being picked up until after 6:00 PM today.  It is a good idea for families to discuss how they want their student athlete to get home when school is released earlier, or when practice is canceled.  Sticking with the normal pick up time of 6:00 is not a viable option.

My personal thanks go out to all of the people and families who reacted quickly to deal with this situation!  I hope it warms up!

Randy Trani