Washoe County Schools prepare for winter, no digital days at Incline | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Washoe County Schools prepare for winter, no digital days at Incline

WCSD Board of Trustees President Katy Simon Holland stands in the cold to talk about winter driving conditions.
Laney Griffo / Tahoe Daily Tribu

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — With storm warnings for the upcoming weeks, Washoe County School District is beginning to inform parents and the public about winter driving around schools.

At a press conference held at Donner Springs Elementary School on Monday, Nov. 25, representatives from the district reminded everyone to watch for students, drive slowly and be cautious around buses and in school zones.

The conference started with WCSD Board of Trustees President Katy Simon Holland saying that this semester, 19 families have had students involved car accidents. With inclement weather right around the corner, she urges everyone to drive carefully.

WCSD Area Superintendent, Joe Ernst said the options for addressing winter conditions include a two-hour delayed start or cancellations. The district has included contingency days from June 8-10 for cancellations.

WCSD School Police Chief Jason Trevino said inclement weather, time changes and shorter days all lead to more dangerous driving conditions. He also tells drivers that with snow on the sidewalk and construction near some schools, they should expect students to be walking where they wouldn’t normally walk, like in the road shoulder.

Finally, Director of WCSD Transportation Department, Rick Martin talked about the procedure for determining a snow day or delayed started.

Staff will start monitoring winter storms 72 hours before they are supposed to hit. They will go out around 2-3 a.m. the morning of a storm to check road conditions and determine if the conditions are safe or not.

The district has also set up winter bus stops in case of hazardous conditions.

Martin said he works closely with staff in Incline Village to decide on whether or not there should be a snow day. He will communicate with staff throughout the night to get updates on conditions.

“The district has an understanding that Incline has more snow days than the rest of the schools,” Martin said to the Tribune.

He said Incline school’s have contingency days than the valley schools that get less snow.

“We do have days when conditions are dramatically different and we account for that,” Holland told the Tribune.

Last year, the district piloted a “digital days” program that allowed students to work from home on days with bad weather so there would be fewer days to make up later in the year.

The state said the program was not supported by state law so the district is doing away with the program this winter.

“We haven’t given up looking at other programs around the country,” Holland said.

Holland is hoping the district can come back to the state legislature with a program similar to digital days that will work for everyone.

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