Schools take day to recover from storm |

Schools take day to recover from storm

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily TribuneKen Ralls, a maintenance worker at Tahoe Valley Elementary School, clears snow from a sidewalk Monday afternoon.

Even with blue skies yesterday, the Lake Tahoe Unified School District closed all its schools for a snow day Monday because of safety concerns.

“A lot of different factors other than snow falling from the sky are a part of deciding on a snow day,” said Christy Monohan, transportation supervisor for the district.

Monohan said the roads were plowed too narrowly, so the buses couldn’t make some of the turns down the side streets.

The district schools will be open today, Superintendent James Tarwater said.

Parents agreed with the district’s decision.

Carry Loomis, the parent of a middle schooler, said the district made a great call because it put the safety of the children first.

“The streets are barely one car wide,” she said. “It’s not safe for kids to be standing, waiting for the bus.”

Children would have had to walk down the one-lane streets to get home after school, which isn’t safe either with the slick surfaces, Loomis said.

Loomis lives by Elks Club Drive and said the side streets in the area weren’t in good condition.

Another parent, Carol Albrecht, said she wasn’t surprised the district called for a snow day because of how fast the snow fell, and not much could be done to clear it all in time. She has two kids in middle school and one child attending Sierra House Elementary School.

Tarwater said the district didn’t want to open the schools if people were uncomfortable with it. Much of the snow hadn’t been removed from the parking lots and drop-off zones at the schools. The snow day gave maintenance workers an extra day for removal.

Monohan said the district only had one snow blower, which equates to a lot of time spent clearing out the parking lots.

The process for deciding to take a snow day requires agreement from the district’s director of facilities, transportation supervisor and the superintendent, Tarwater said.

The director and supervisor evaluate the road and facility conditions, then they contact the superintendent and the three work through the decision. Usually, the decision is made before 6 a.m. For this snow day, they had more time to evaluate the situation, he said.

The district builds three snow days a year into the school calendar to plan ahead for storms, Tarwater said.

Even though the district took a snow day for safety reasons, students still received the simple pleasures of a day off.

“My kids are happy,” Albrecht said. “They got to sleep in.”

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