Winter weather is close at hand. As a lifelong resident of the valley, I've seen weather conditions turn on a dime. This often results in last minute changes to the school day. Where can you go to find out about school delays, early release, and closures?

Do you recall earlier this year when we all went out to start our cars, only to discover that everything, including our vehicles, had a quarter-inch thick sheet of ice on it? I don't think anybody saw that coming. We all lost about 30 minutes that morning as we chiseled or blow torched our way into our cars.

Nothing is more important than keeping your children same. For this reason, schools will sometimes experience delayed starts, early dismissals, and in some cases, cancellations.

How do you find out if changes have been made to your child's school day? I remember walking to Jr. High somewhere back around 1983, only to get there and find out the school was closed for the day due to a major plumbing issue. We didn't have home computers back then, let alone the Internet.

Nowadays, we have information, and tons of it, all just a click away. In the event something happens causing a change in the way a school's day will unfold, you can access information instantly.

In most cases, School District 51 will announce decisions involving schedule changes between 5 and 5:30 in the morning. This information will be posted at, or on Facebook at

In addition, the district will send out a call or text, even an email, to the parents. Of course, just like in the good ol' days, the school district still contacts the TV and radio stations with this info so they might get it out on the air.

What if you know that crummy weather is coming which might affect schools? Check the website or Facebook site first. In the event you don't see any information regarding the weather, it's safe to say the following school day will unfold as it should.

There remains this matter of using your own judgment. It's up to parents to make the decision regarding their child's attendance. Not everyone lives four blocks from the school. It might fall to you to make the call.

Stay ahead of the game by utilizing the district's web page and Facebook page. The info goes up fairly early, so you'll have time to make arrangements if needed. Stay safe this winter, and let's every effort to have an accident-free winter in Western Colorado.

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