By Per Peterson
It didn’t take long for Tracy Area Public Schools to use up its Virtual Learning Days in 2019, and now the district will continue adding school days to the end of the 2018-19 school year.
For the seventh time in less than a month, school was cancelled at TAPS on Tuesday after the area received yet another heavy dose of snow.
State statute allows schools five Virtual Learning Days per school year, and District No. 2904 used up its Virtual Learning Days within a three-week span with snow days on January 18, 28, 29, 30 and February 7. The school district’s most recent snow days — February 8 and 12 — will be made up on May 30 and 31.
There have also been four two-hour late starts at TAPS: January 23, 27, 30 and February 4.
TAHS Supt. Chad Anderson said the decision to close school again was based on unplowed back roads at 8 a.m. and the fact the winds were expected to kick up again later in the day.
“We were out driving (Tuesday) morning and most (almost all) back roads were not plowed, which caused ditches and roads to all look the same,” Anderson said. “We could not have even driven down the roads at 8 a.m. even if the wind was not predicted. However, the wind was the final straw — if we (did) get winds of 25-30 mph it will cause main roads to be impassible and poor visibility. At that point I worry about accidents with student drivers, buses, etc.”
The Virtual Learning Days program is in its first year at TAPS. It is designed to keep students in touch with learning when they’re not in school.
“Our VLDs have been a life-saver for us this year because we have already had seven days of no school due to inclement weather up to this point,” Anderson said.
The weather has also cancelled or postponed a number of extracurricular events at TAHS. On Tuesday alone, two basketball games, a junior high speech meet, FFA interviews and youth basketball practices were either cancelled, postponed or moved (see Sports for updates on games). The FFA interviews in Westbrook were moved to February 14.