Washoe schools have already been delayed several times this fall due to winter weather. Now, Washoe County School District officials this week are reminding parents, students and the community about district procedures when snow and ice may affect getting to the classroom.
“We need to ensure members of our community have the information they need to stay safe and keep our students safe,” said WCSD Director of Transportation Scott Lee. “It is important for families to review our procedures and processes before inclement weather becomes a near-daily occurrence, especially when it can be so unpredictable during the winter months.”
District officials said they work with the National Weather Service, Washoe County and the cities of Reno and Sparks to monitor winter weather conditions and make decisions about school delays and closures. When severe winter weather is in the forecast, district staff begins monitoring conditions as early as 2 or 3 a.m.
School delays are something everyone should be aware of, as students are waiting for buses at different times and different locations than usual. Winter bus stops are designed to keep buses on roads where conditions are generally safer, but where drivers may not be used to seeing students.
A complete list of winter bus stops is available here.
Other students who walk to school must contend with snowy or icy sidewalks.
“Students will be walking to school on snowy days, and if sidewalks are not cleared, they may be walking in the street,” said WCSD School Police Chief Jason Trevino. “Drivers need to slow down and be aware of alternate schedules, because students may be out at different times than usual as they make their way to school.”
The district’s Safe Routes to School program encourages “walking school buses,” which are larger groups of students who walk together and pick up others into the group along the way. Program coordinator MJ Cloud says the practice creates safety in numbers and makes student pedestrians easier for drivers to see.
On days when schools aren’t delayed or closed, Trevino says parents should still consider safety when sending their children off to school.
“Students will be waiting at bus hubs early in the morning before it is light outside, so we urge parents to choose bright, warm and reflective clothing for them to wear. Pay attention to information about delays and cancellations and remind your children about how they can stay safe on their way to and from school,” he said.
WCSD shares information about school delays and cancellations through a number of methods. Those include:
- Calls, text messages or emails through the Connect Ed system. Parents are urged to keep their contact information up to date with their child’s school.
- The WCSD website at washoeschools.net, or its Facebook or Twitter pages.
- The parent hotline for Incline Village schools, which are often closed or delayed more often. Call 775-337-7509.
- News outlets including This Is Reno.
Coat drive underway
WCSD is working with the Education Alliance of Washoe County for the Big Reno Coat Drive, an annual event to gather donated coats for students. This year’s goal is to collect 3,000 coats. Last year, the effort reach 2,700. Details on the coat drive and drop-off locations are at www.bigrenocoatdrive.org.