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School Officials On Why They Decide To Close

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) - Some students will have a second straight day off from school on Wednesday because of the wintry weather. Some school districts already announced they will be closed because it’s just too cold to risk having the students outside.

Some of the major districts include Adams County districts 12, 14 and 50; Aurora Public Schools; Boulder Valley School District; Cherry Creek; Douglas County; Englewood; Jefferson County; and Weld County districts RE-1, RE-3J and RE-8.

Denver Public Schools says it will be open but respects parents’ judgment if they want their children to stay home.

The driveway at Molholm Elementary was plowed out on Tuesday and the roads weren’t that bad. The big problem is what school administrators call the dangerous cold.

Many students treated Tuesday like an extra day of vacation — a time for a little fun.

“I was very happy, it’s nice to have a day off,” a student enjoying the day at the Ruby Hill Railyard said.

Normally they’d be lining up for rides or walking to class, but school was canceled throughout the metro area because conditions were just too dangerous, according to David Suppes, the chief of operations for Denver Public Schools.

“Frostbite can occur in a very short period of time, sometimes in less than 10 minutes,” Suppes said.

Another consideration is getting the diesel-powered school buses to run in the extreme cold. But many school districts use block heaters and special fuel additives to keep the bus engines from freezing, according to Tustin Amole, spokeswoman for Cherry Creek Schools.

“It works very well overall,” Amole said. “We had a few dead batteries overnight but we fixed those.”

Even if the school buses are running, icy roads could put them behind schedule. That means students already waiting outside could be at greater risk of frostbite.

But sub-zero temperatures were the last thing on the mind of one mother.

“Oh Lord, no school, kids will be stuck at home driving the parents crazy, but thank God for Ruby Hill, you know,” parent Sheri Pitones said.

It begs a simple question. If they can play in the extreme cold, why can’t they come to school in it?

“I think those decisions are made by parents,” Suppes said. “It’s certainly not something the we would recommend … when we have charge over our students we’re going to take the safety precautions we think are most appropriate.”

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