When there is inclement weather, the Roaring Fork Schools transportation department starts the following process at 2 a.m. to determine whether to hold or cancel school that day:
Remotely view the outside cameras on schools in multiple communities to observe the impact of inclement weather on our school sites.
Contact plowing operations departments at Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin Counties for status updates on the ability of plows to initially clear, as well as expectations about whether plows will be able to adequately maintain bus routes throughout the duration of the expected inclement weather.
Contact emergency services dispatchers at Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin Counties to understand current emergency status.
Contact Roaring Fork Schools maintenance personnel to receive status updates about school plowing and road conditions.
Drive the roads to experience the conditions firsthand.
Contact school administration to consult and recommend action. The Roaring Fork Schools will come to a decision regarding school closures by 5:30 a.m. and notifications to staff and parents will begin afterwards. (In some cases, if a storm is imminent, school may be canceled the night before.)
In rare cases, individual mountain bus routes may be canceled. In this situation, absences will be excused.
Inclement weather closure decisions will be shared in the following ways by 6am:
Snow Hotline: Parents can call 384-6075 to hear a recorded message (available in both in English and Spanish) about whether school will be held or canceled that day.
Website: A notice will also be posted on the district website.
Email: We will send out a district-wide email to parents.
Facebook: We will also post on Facebook on https://www.facebook.com/RoaringForkSchoolDistrict page.
Local media outlets.
For activity trips, extensive consultation with the appropriate road maintenance authorities, including the Colorado Department of Transportation and county road and bridge organizations occurs multiple times leading up to the departure time of the trip. The recommendation for activity trips is similar as with closure decisions, but recommendations are made directly to schools (which may include a recommendation for extended time needed to safely navigate road conditions) and impacted families contacted directly via Infinite Campus messenger. Ultimately, activity trip decisions are made between the school leadership and the Director of Transportation. Individual bus drivers are also empowered to make real-time and ultimate decisions to cancel based on their assessment of the current road conditions. When needed, accommodations can be made to keep students safe and comfortable while waiting for the weather to clear or roads to open.
Of course, weather forecasting and road condition reporting are not an exact science. The process outlined above provides a safe and consistent way to assess conditions at a given point in time. Any decision to cancel school is based on student safety. If we decide to hold school, it is because we have determined it is safe to do so. Our buses are equipped with automatic chains, multiple and redundant braking systems, which along with their low center of gravity, long wheel base and large dual tires make them the safest form of transportation on the planet. Additionally our bus drivers are regularly trained and experienced in driving during inclement weather and mountain roads, making them capable of providing safe transportation on snowy or slick roads in almost all circumstances.
We also want to emphasize that parents have the right to keep students home from school, take them to school, or provide transportation to school later when the roads are less of a concern if they feel the road conditions are unsafe.
Our priority is that students and staff arrive safely to school and work. Please let us know if you have questions or concerns about our inclement weather decision-making process.
Why doesn’t the school district implement a delayed start during inclement weather?
There are a critical number of bus drivers who have other jobs. Because these drivers are still required to report at a specific time for their other jobs, they do not have the flexibility to drive during a delayed start. Without these drivers, the transportation department would not be able to provide the necessary resources to transport students who rely on busing.
The weather was really bad in Basalt, but seemed fine in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. Why doesn’t the school district cancel school in Basalt only?
Canceling school in a single community would be problematic because so many staff and students commute between and through all communities.
School is still open, but I don’t feel safe getting my student to school. What should I do?
Parents have the right to keep students home from school, take them to school, or provide transportation to school later when the roads are less of a concern if they feel the road conditions are unsafe. Tardies or absences due to inclement weather will be excused.
Is it safe to drive a bus in snowy weather? Are bus drivers trained to drive in inclement weather?
Yes, buses are equipped with automatic chains and multiple and redundant braking systems, which along with their low center of gravity and long wheel base and large dual tires make them the safest form of transportation on the planet.
In addition to bus safety features, our bus drivers are regularly trained and experienced in driving during inclement weather and mountain roads, making them capable of providing safe transportation on snowy or slick roads in almost all circumstances.
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