The first snowfall of the season dropped over a foot of snow on the community. The National Weather Service reported that snow amounts as high as 18 inches were reported in the area. The 7.2" of snow at the Sioux Falls Airport broke the daily record of 3.8" which was set back in 1975.
School was in session for the day, and expecting the snow to diminish by afternoon, Superintendent Kirk Easton made the decision midmorning to keep school in session for the day.
“I had talked with the National Weather Service throughout the day and had driven some of our state and county highways as well as some of our township roads a few occasions. The conditions did not warrant me to dismiss students early and put them out in the worst of the storm,” said Easton. “They were in school where they were safe and we were willing to stay as long as needed until every child had a safe passage home.”
The snow didn’t let up as early as predicted however, and by the afternoon, Easton announced that the buses would not be running and parents could come and pick up their children at any time.
“Those school districts that did have an early dismissal all had buses get stuck,” explained Easton. “It was not a question whether buses would get stuck, it was a question of how many and how bad. If I had run buses then I would have been putting kids in an unsafe environment knowing that there was a high degree of probability that the bus would end up in the ditch or in an accident. Buses are not good in snow or on slippery roads.”
Easton received calls both supporting and criticizing his position.
“Given the same information that I had at the time of my decision(s) I would probably make the same call. Kids were in a safe place and I did not think that putting them out into terrible conditions was the thing to do,” continued Easton.
Although the last child didn’t get picked up until 5:55 p.m., as far as the Superintendent knew, all the students made it home safely.
The snow caught a lot of people off-guard. Traffic slowed to a crawl and many motorists found themselves in the ditch before the day was over.
Even though it was tough to drive in, the falling snow left behind some beautiful winter scenes. If you have some pictures you would like to share, please send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.