Colorado weather can be unpredictable and certainly is more unpredictable on the floor of the San Luis Valley. At times, a 20% chance of precipitation leaves us with a heavy snowstorm and a 90% chance blows over without snow. With that in mind, I want to take this opportunity to share with you some insight into how weather-related decisions are made. We work hard to make decisions in the best interest of all our NCSD students, whether they ride the bus or if they drive themselves to school, and we remember that many of our students travel from other districts to attend our schools. We also take into account the hardship a school cancellation places on our families who need childcare and may depend on a hot meal at school.
The decision whether or not to cancel school is complex and never taken lightly. The process begins the night before, as administration and our transportation personnel consult with various weather forecasting services, CDOT and law enforcement agencies throughout the night. Administration and principals drive the roads early to assess conditions in a variety of district areas, and local superintendents often consult with one another to discuss conditions impacting school districts across the area and coordinate decision making when appropriate.
While we cannot anticipate the exact outcome of every storm and resulting road conditions, we care deeply about every student's well being and safety. At times, we are caught off guard as conditions look very safe at 6:30am when buses must leave and the decision to cancel or not has to be made. At times, the forecast calls for "less than an inch" of snow possible predicted at a 30% chance, only to see heavy snow at 7:20am when it is too late to cancel and then continue all morning with significant amounts falling. We understand that not everyone agrees with decisions related to weather delays or closures. Despite our best efforts, sometimes our deicision does not play out how we would like. Parents always have the right and the responsibility to do what is best for their children, and our schools respect those decisions, as ultimately the decision is up to the parents with respect to travel. As our district geography extends from the Continental Divide bordering Archuleta County past Platoro to five miles east of Manassa on Hwy 142, from the Rio Grande County line north, to south of Romeo 1 1/2 miles, even conditions within our district vary greatly. We would rather have you here late than rush, safe rather than riding the edge hurrying and will work with you on such days should more time be required, just contact your school.