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Safety is primary concern when canceling school

Posted: 7:10 PM, Mar 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-14 12:41:51-04

MONUMENT – Multiple school districts from around the Pikes Peak Region have already canceled school ahead of blizzard forecast for Wednesday. The decision is never an easy call to make.

“What we do is educate kids,” explained Cheryl Wangeman, the Assistant Superintendent of LewMis-Palmer School FmulDistrict 38 in Monument. “So, we want them in our schools.”

However, she said the administration has to consider the safety of its staff and students when making the decision whether to cancel school or keep them open.

“A blizzard of this magnitude, obviously we will shut down the whole district, but we also think about how we have to shut it down as the snow begins to come,” she said. “What places we keep open as long as we can and what places we need to open up immediately because of whatever important events they have.”

Wangeman said she and her colleagues have been tracking this storm since last week. When the National Weather Service issued the blizzard warning Tuesday morning, they scheduled meetings to plan how to respond.

“Okay, fine. Wednesday is not looking real good; What can we do for Thursday,” she explained. “Obviously, safety is number one, but how can we make sure that we close down well so that we open well and we’ll get those kids right back in as soon as we can.”

District officials will maintain contact with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and the Monument and Palmer Lake Police Departments throughout the day Wednesday to get updates on road conditions in hopes of opening as scheduled Thursday.

Lewis-Palmer, like many local districts, builds a set number of snow days into the academic calendar each year. Wangeman explained this year’s calendar included a teacher training day that could be flexed into a regular classroom day to accommodate an extraordinarily high number of cancelations.

The Board of Education is expected to approve the use of that flex day at its regular meeting on Monday night.