All Anchorage public schools were closed Friday for a third day in the wake of this week’s snowstorm, the school district said.
“Road conditions remain unsafe for buses and students walking to school,” the district wrote Friday morning. “Employees should follow emergency closure procedures for their building or department. ... Unless otherwise announced, schools will reopen Monday.”
Limited after-school activities resumed Friday, including high school and middle school conference competitions. But non-conference games, practices, dances and performances remained canceled.
Rental facilities were also open to groups and activities. A 9 a.m. school board budget work session was set to take place Saturday at the district Education Center.
We have a few updates to share with you on next steps with today’s school closure due to the unsafe road...Posted by Anchorage School District on Friday, December 9, 2022
While the district had “all intentions” of opening schools on Friday, a district operations team found that conditions were not safe for students walking or taking the bus, said district spokesman MJ Thim. The group did overnight road checks to assess conditions on main roads and side streets following municipal and state snow removal.
“That is the reason that we closed schools, again, for a third day in a row,” Thim said. “Safety is one of the top priorities for us. And those road conditions remained unsafe, and we’re not going to put our bus drivers, our staff and our students at risk.”
The operations team then produced a report to Superintendent Jharrett Bryantt recommending the closure, and he made the call to keep schools closed given the assessment, according Thim.
Thim said the district understands the difficulty caused by yet another snow day, but that safety remains a top district priority. The district has offered to help with the city’s snow removal.
School district officials are also still discussing how to deal with the remainder of the year, having only budgeted for two snow days for the 2022-23 school year. Friday marked the fourth weather day the school district has taken so far this year. The last time the district closed schools for three days in a row was 2003.
With more snow in the forecast this weekend, Thim said the district will make a decision regarding school Monday by 5:30 a.m. that day.
Schools in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough were open Friday.
[Anchorage digs out from heavy snowfall with graders and mechanics in short supply]
This is a developing story and will be updated.