LEHI (ABC4 News) – While many school districts including Salt Lake, Canyons and Jordan canceled classes because of poor road conditions Wednesday, Utah’s largest district did not, angering many parents.
Classes were held as scheduled with no delays at Alpine School District’s 57 elementary schools, 12 junior highs, and 9 high schools after District officials said “No way” to a snow day.
Roads were snow-packed and visibility was low in some areas of Utah County but around 6 a.m. Alpine School District posted this message that their 78 schools would be open as usual.
“We always want to keep our schools open if possible,” Alpine District Public Relations Administrator David Stephenson said. “Because we have students that their parents may be gone to work and rather than have them left home alone we would prefer to have them safe in a school.”
Emily Thompson has four kids in Alpine District schools.
“I’m not happy about it,” Thompson told ABC4 News. “I would hope that they would keep these teenage drivers off the road. Sometimes the kids don’t know if their teachers are going to be lenient or not and so they really try to get to school and we were digging cars out along the way.”
“We have a lot of teachers coming from out of this area and their drive is treacherous,” student mother Jamie Okey said. “I think safety needs to be first and foremost always with the kids and the education secondary.”
Emily and Jamie weren’t alone. By mid-afternoon the District’s Facebook post received more 2,200 comments. Matt Christiansen called it a “Big mistake.” Krissy Law said, “No teens or anyone else for that matter should be driving in this,” and Elena Johnson said, “You’re sending thousands of people into extremely risky conditions.”
Stephenson said many parents kept their children home.
“Numbers were down significantly with the number of students attending,” Stephenson said. “And we did have some teachers that weren’t able to make it to their schools because they live in other communities.”
Stephenson said that students who missed school Wednesday will not be penalized for their absence