Gerald O’Halloran uses his snow blower to clear the sidewalk for his neighbors on 11th Street as snow builds up on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Gerald O’Halloran uses his snow blower to clear the sidewalk for his neighbors on 11th Street as snow builds up on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Juneau schools get first snow day since 2011

High school basketball games still on for tonight

Down south, half an inch of snow calls for a snow day. But not here, in Alaska. In Juneau, things don’t stop for bad weather.

Friday, they did.

Juneau School District had its first snow day since November 2011, according to Kristin Bartlett, chief of staff for the district.

“This morning the main routes were pretty clear, but the snow on side streets and sidewalks was deep in many areas,” Bartlett said.

Crews from the State Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and the City and Borough of Juneau, along with the Juneau School District Maintenance Department all work to plow the school bus routes, bike lanes, sidewalks and parking lots to assure students can get to school.

“We look at the ability of the First Student school buses to safely run their routes, as well as the ability of students, staff and families to safely drive or walk to school,” Bartlett said.

[Fleeing the 49th state: Alaska’s population declines again]

Sometimes there’s just too much snow to clear before the morning commute begins, as was the case on Friday.

However, Friday’s high school basketball games are still scheduled to occur since the traveling teams are already here, and the games are scheduled for later in the day.

“Basketball games are late in the day after the storm is predicted to be over and when streets would be in better shape,” said Board of Education member Dan DeBartolo on Facebook. “This morning is more than about bus routes. It’s about safety while walking to stops, and visibility of kids while snow equipment is out in force. Neighborhood streets take a lot longer to get addressed, and the darkness, limited lines of sight with snow piles, and unpredictable driving surfaces are all factors in the a.m.”

The basketball games are scheduled: Thunder Mountain High School girls vs. Colony High School at 6:15 p.m., TMHS boys vs. Colony at 8 p.m. and Juneau-Douglas Kalé High School boys vs. Ketchikan at 8 p.m.

• Contact reporter Mollie Barnes at or 523-2228.

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