The Echo

Snow emergency leaves students struggling to get home

Bus delays, buried cars hinder student transport

Saint+Louis+Park+High+School+open+on+Jan.+23+after+Minneapolis+snow+emergency.
Saint Louis Park High School open on Jan. 23 after Minneapolis snow emergency.

Saint Louis Park High School open on Jan. 23 after Minneapolis snow emergency.

Esther Gendler

Esther Gendler

Saint Louis Park High School open on Jan. 23 after Minneapolis snow emergency.

Esther Gendler and Avia Kaner-Roth

With finals approaching, senior Skie Ashford said she was frustrated when the Jan. 22 snow quadrupled her commute home from school.

“I missed work, and I have a lot of responsibility on my hands,” Ashford said. “It also took away time for me to be able to prepare myself for finals and other important projects that are due this week.”

Ashford said her commute home on the bus lasted over four times longer than usual because of the snow emergency Jan. 22.

“I was on the bus for six and a half hours, when it would usually take about one and a half to get home,” Ashford said.

Erickson said she believes the school should have considered an early release.

“Honestly by noon it was kind of obvious the snow was coming down really hard and it was going to keep going,” Erickson said. “They should have cancelled school in the first place because it was really, really bad, but if they wanted school to continue they should have released it a couple hours early.”

According to Superintendent Astein Osei, different considerations are used to make weather-based decisions within the school district.

“There are a number of different things and data points that I take into consideration, all focused around student and staff safety,” Osei said. “But just as important is knowing that whenever possible, I want to try not to disrupt a daily routine of our students and families.”

Osei said a delay was avoided as they proved challenging for the district in the past.

“Traditionally in St. Louis Park, we haven’t done two hour late starts,” Osei said. “I think our experience with two hour late starts in the past, not that we shouldn’t re-evaluate it, but that in the past has been challenging to say the least, but I think this is something we certainly should re-evaluate moving forward.”

Osei said the snow day may have unintended implications.

“There are a number of different things and data points that I take into consideration, all focused around student and staff safety,” Osei said. “Whenever possible I want to try not to disrupt a daily pattern of our students and families because I think that there are potential safety risks when doing that as well.”

Osei said he makes his decision using the context of the districts surrounding Park.

“In Minneapolis and St. Paul, their road conditions and snow removal is very different, due to more alleys and complications surrounding street parking,” Osei said. “Due to this, I pay more attention to districts like Edina and Hopkins.”

According to Osei, six busses arrived late at school by 40 minutes or more.

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Snow emergency leaves students struggling to get home