Some metro schools add option of two-hour delay for bad weather days

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- A lot of kids and teachers might be crossing their fingers Wednesday's snow leads to schools closing Thursday. But some districts are trying something new to avoid canceling classes altogether.

A Christmas card-like scene is unfolding in Kansas City before Halloween. Districts around the metro are already keeping close watch to see if school schedules might be changed Thursday.

"We're closely monitoring what that looks like," said Kristin McNerlin, Blue Valley Schools spokesperson.

A long, snowy winter with some brutal temps forced many local districts to cancel up to two weeks worth of classes last year. That got a lot of districts talking about how to limit snow days this year.

"One of the feedback we got from parents was, 'Is there any way we can do something different as far as having a late start?'" McNerlin said.

Blue Valley Schools are now implementing a two-hour delay into their inclement weather policy.

"There are a lot of logistics involved in a delayed start, so that`s why we decided we needed a practice day to make sure we've ironed out a lot of the logistics that have to happen in order for us to have a school day that's valuable to us when we delay by two hours," McNerlin said.

Ironically, the practice day is scheduled for next week, on Nov. 7. The district is hoping to keep it that way, but if weather warrants, classes could be delayed or canceled Thursday.

"We're going to give it a try and see if we can make delayed start a part of our artillery of options for schools during inclement weather," McNerlin said.

To help parents, Blue Valley's before school care will still be available, but it will also slide back two hours if there's a delayed start.

On the Missouri side, Lee's Summit and Liberty school districts are also adding the option of a two-hour delay this year after parent feedback.

Last year, Lee's Summit had 10 days without school because of bad weather. Liberty canceled classes nine times.

The districts said super cold mornings with subzero wind chills were to blame for some of those snow days, which might now be avoidable with delayed starts.

"We had nine snow days last year, and there probably were a couple of those days that we may have been able to have a late start which would've assisted in us being able to end the school year a little bit earlier, which is a big thing for everybody," Liberty Schools Communications Director Dallas Ackerman said.

In the two Missouri districts, before-school care will still be offered at its regular times to help families.

All three districts are asking for everyone's patience and flexibility getting used to the change.

For more detailed information about Blue Valley's inclement weather policy, visit this site.

For more details about Liberty's late start changes, check out this letter from the district.

For more information about Lee's Summit Schools' late start policy, you can view a letter sent to parents here.

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