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Despite Inclement Weather Most Utah Schools Remain Open

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mikeinlondon via istock
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Box Elder and Cache County School Districs closed Thursday while the majority of Northern Utah schools remained open.

For Utah students, winter weather always brings with it the question of a snow day. But despite the recent string of inclement weather it’s been business as usual for nearly all school districts districts.

Scott Thomas, the auxiliary administrator for Jordan School District in Salt Lake County, says snowy weather means long work days.

 

"I started at about 3:00AM [Thursday] morning. On snow days we’re out all night," says Thomas.

 

Conditions are monitored by district employees out clearing snow and before students are up a recommendation is sent to the superintendent on whether or not to close.

 

"The determining factor really is, can we safely run buses?" says Thomas.

In the 27 years Thomas has been Jordan District the answer has always been "yes," aside from one snow day in 1993 and a few late start days.

Although most Utah districts rarely take snow days, there is a common message to concerned parents and students.

“Arrive when you can," says Thomas. "Arrive safely."

“If [parents] look outside and they feel like, you know what, I don’t feel comfortable sending my child to school, then they don’t have to do that," says Chris Williams, communications director for Davis School District north of Salt Lake City.

Thursday morning Davis decided on a late start day. That means two extra hours to clear sidewalks and parking lots.

Late starts help create a more manageable workload for a relatively small facility crew.

"We have 89 schools but we just have 30 plows," says Williams.

Provo district also started late while Box Elder and Cache County were closed altogether. Classes are expected to resume Friday.

Lee Hale began listening to KUER while he was teaching English at a Middle School in West Jordan (his one hour commute made for plenty of listening time). Inspired by what he heard he applied for the Kroc Fellowship at NPR headquarters in DC and to his surprise, he got it. Since then he has reported on topics ranging from TSA PreCheck to micro apartments in overcrowded cities to the various ways zoo animals stay cool in the summer heat. But, his primary focus has always been education and he returns to Utah to cover the same schools he was teaching in not long ago. Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is also fascinated with the way religion intersects with the culture and communities of the Beehive State. He hopes to tell stories that accurately reflect the beliefs that Utahns hold dear.
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