Jeffco Schools may pilot 2-hour snow delay this week

Jeffco Schools may pilot a two-hour snow delay as an alternative to a snow day as early as this week, if current snow forecasts hold true.

A letter explaining how the two-hour weather delay will work was sent to Jeffco families and staff on March 5. Superintendent Jason Glass announced the March weather delay pilot to Jeffco School Board members at the board’s Feb. 7 regular meeting.

What does a snow delay look like at my school?

If Jeffco School announces a two-hour snow delay, schools will start two hours later than the normal start time. School days will still end at the normal time.

Specifically, a two-hour weather delay will look like this:

  • Families will be notified of a two-hour delay by 5:30 am via email, text, and phone through SchoolMessenger. Any delays or closures will also be posted on the Jeffco Schools website and on the district’s Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as through local media.
  • No regular breakfast served
  • Morning preschool will be canceled
  • No morning kindergarten (half-day only)
  • Elementary before-school care also delayed by two hours
  • No morning athletic practices
  • Morning classes canceled at Warren Tech

Families should also check to see if their school has any additional information regarding before-school programming. In addition, each charter school will set its own policy regarding a delayed weather start.

How does Jeffco Schools make the decision?

According to the Jeffco Schools website, staff consider the following when deciding whether to call a weather delay or snow day. The district covers more than 790 square miles with terrain and conditions that vary considerably.

  • Can school buses safely transport students to and from school?
  • Can state and local resources keep the roads and sidewalks clear for families, students, staff and buses?
  • What does the forecast look like throughout the day?
  • Can the district provide meals for students?

District staff work with a variety of local resources, including Colorado Department of Transportation, Jeffco Transportation Services and local forecast services to determine whether to close schools. Staff typically hold a conference call with a forecasting service and check in every 3 hours throughout the night to re-assess conditions, Glass explained in a Feb. 12 Facebook Live discussion.

Jeffco also relies on weather spotters — both community members and Jeffco employees — to report on weather and road conditions in remote areas of the county, explained Tammy Schiff, chief communications officer.

Cold weather also plays into the equation, especially if it creates exceptionally icy conditions in the morning, Glass said.

Jeffco Schools makes the decision by 4:45 am, and then begins internal and external notifications.

In some cases, only Jeffco mountain schools will be closed.

Glass said that families can always choose to keep students home if they feel conditions are unsafe. Schools will excuse tardies or absences will be excused as long as the family notifies the school.

To learn more about how Jeffco decides to call a snow day or snow delay, check out this video and read through the district’s frequently asked questions.

Tina Gurdikian

Tina Gurdikian has been a Jeffco resident since 2008, and is the parent of two Jeffco Schools students. She has a BS in Environmental Analysis and Planning with a minor in Biology. In her not-so-spare time, she enjoys fostering dogs, scuba diving, backpacking, hiking, biking, and kayaking with her family. Please visit our "About Us" page to learn more about Tina and our other writers.

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