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Publish Date: 4/12/2005

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Heritage Middle School student Jeremy Burkhardt, 13, flies off a jump while sledding down the hill at Sunset Middle School in Longmont on Monday. Times-Call/Erin McCracken

Sunny snow day
Despite warmish weather, area schools close for safety reasons


LONGMONT Andrea Jewell and her younger brother, Parker, spent a surprising day with their father Monday thanks to a wet spring snowstorm.

The children, 7 and 4 respectively, got the day off from classes and day care at Sacred Heart of Jesus in Boulder when the school declared a snow day.

All schools in both the Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley school districts canceled classes Monday.

Its a beautiful day, so I dont really get it, Gene Jewell said of the decisions to close schools for the day. My wife took them to school this morning, and there was a note on the door saying school was canceled.

So, rather than with books and classmates, the Jewells spent the day at lunch with dad and frolicking at the play area at the Twin Peaks Mall.

With dry roads, less than frigid temperatures and minor snow accumulations across most of the St. Vrain district, the decision to close schools puzzled many.

I thought it was silly that they did call off school, said Debbie Torres, whose daughter is in second grade at Eagle Crest Elementary and whose son attends Seven Oaks Academy.

But spokeswoman Nancy Herbert said drifting snow in the Weld County part of the St. Vrain district posed a danger to bus drivers and school children, so officials made the call to close school early Monday.

Superintendent Randy Zila said that snow from the wet spring storm drifted across more than six roads that buses travel in Weld County, making them impassable.

I was on the phone at 4 a.m. doing our road checks, Zila said.

Herbert said the district has an all-or-nothing policy for weather closures.

We dont parcel out our closures, Herbert explained.

The district is either open or its not.

Longmont received about 10 inches of snow and 1.03 inches of rain through Sunday evening.

According to the National Weather Service, Erie got about 10 inches of snow from the storm and Lyons about 5 inches.

But as Monday stretched from morning to afternoon, sunny skies and temperatures that climbed into the high 40s accelerated the melting of already slushy snow, leaving globs splatting onto cars from the trees above.

The St. Vrain Valley School District was one of a slew of other districts across the Front Range and Eastern Plains that gave students and teachers the day off.

While many St. Vrain parents were chagrined at having children at home for one more day after a week off for spring break, not everyone was disappointed.

Jolene Lewis, a teacher at Niwot Elementary School, called the snow day a very nice surprise.

Amanda Arthur can be reached at 303-684-5215, or by e-mail at aarthur@times-call.com.

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