Local schools have plan for snow

By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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With up to a foot of snow expected in Colfax and a possible four to eight inches in upper Auburn that could fall through Friday night, local schools are on alert. Gary Yee, superintendent of the Ackerman Charter School District and principal of Bowman Charter School, said the district’s Connect Ed automated phone system immediately calls parents when he decides to call a snow day. The district had two snow days last year, and Yee said he intends to follow the same plan this year. “Last year we made the decision early in the morning,” Yee said. “We watch the weather forecast and usually by 6 o’clock we send out a message on Connect Ed.” Yee said there are two factors he considers when it comes to closing the campus for a day including the safety of the campus itself in regard to how much ice is present. Yee also analyzes how difficult it would be for parents to get in and out of the school’s parking lot when dropping off and picking up their children. Dave Horsey, superintendent of the Placer Union High School District, said the district has two snow days built into its schedule. Horsey said on days that could involve closures, each school principal works with local law enforcement and Mid-Placer Public Schools Transportation Agency to decide whether or not parents, teachers and students can drive to the campuses safely. “We live with this every year and we know it’s going to come,” Horsey said. “Sometimes it’s easy because there are two feet of snow on the ground and it’s a no-brainer. We have closed Foresthill and Colfax (high schools) almost every year for one day.” Once the district and individual schools decide to declare a snow day, an automated message goes out to the parents and teachers in the district. “Probably the best bet is to wait for that call,” Horsey said. “At the same time we are waiting for the call we start contacting (news stations). It goes out on the major news stations, and it’s streamlined across the bottom of the screen.” Horsey said the district’s schools also sometimes have late starts or days that end early due to snow, and this information would also be relayed to parents. Terri Smith, district secretary for the Colfax Elementary School District, said the decision on whether or not to close Colfax Elementary School all depends on if bus drivers and the California Highway Patrol think the road is safe to drive. “The determination is made as soon as possible, and once that determination has been made we have an electronic message system that we use to contact all our parents,” Smith said. Michele Schuetz, superintendent of the Auburn Union School District, said a decision to close schools would be based on buses not being able to reach the campuses safely. The district would then send out messages to parents by phone and e-mail, Schuetz said. Yee said as the weather develops this week, school officials would be paying close attention. “We are going to be watching that very carefully,” he said. Reach Bridget Jones at ------------------------------------------------------ Your local school districts Auburn Union School District: (530) 885-7242 Placer Union High School District: (530) 886-4400 Ackerman Charter School District: (530) 885-1974 Colfax Elementary School District: (530) 346-2202