After many dry and warm winter months, severe winter weather hit the Camas area. This means missing school and a few late-start days. Abrupt changes to the school schedule can cause questions and disagreement among students, their families, staff and the whole community.
One of the most common questions is about how these decisions are made. The district has a “Snow Patrol” team that is out on the streets at 4 am to assess the road conditions. Superintendent Dr. Jeff Snell explains, “We try to make an initial decision by 4:45 am and start the notification process. We work with a weather service to advise us on when to send the ‘Snow Patrol’ out and if there are any exceptional weather events we should consider.” If a two-hour late start is called, the “Snow Patrol” team is sent out again to decide if school should continue or be cancelled altogether.
No matter what decision is made, complaints are sure to follow. Conversations tend to pop up on the Camas School District Facebook page and other social media sites. One of these examples comes from the Facebook post from February 4th:
Snell is quite familiar with these complaints and says the priority is student safety, but that is not the only challenge. “Predicting weather conditions and the impact on our roads is very challenging especially given our district has a lot of hilly neighborhoods,” says Snell.
Another question students and families have regarding the built-in inclement weather days is the District schedule. Originally, the school year would have ended on June 18th. Now, the school ends on June 20th. Although the District had three days built into the January, February and March schedules, only one will March 15th will now be a regular school day. The District calendar stated those days would only be converted for snow days before January 15th. Additionally, June 19th and June 20th are now added to the end of the school year.
Overall because the weather can be unpredictable; it can cause hard decisions for the school district. Still, students and families should feel confident that the District makes decisions with the safety of the students and staff in mind.