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Winter storm results in some school closures - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

Winter storm results in some school closures

Posted: Feb 09, 2018 10:30 AM Updated:

Helena School District leaders decided to release students early Thursday and cancel classes for Friday, over concerns about approaching winter weather.

Superintendent Jack Copps said they were concerned icy conditions and gusty winds would make the roads too dangerous to send buses out.

“There are moments when you don’t take chances, and this is one of those moments,” he said. “We aren’t going to take a risk of somebody potentially being in a serious car accident, somebody potentially being hit by another car, somebody breaking bones and that sort of thing because of slippage.”

Copps said the district consulted with local law enforcement and with First Student, the company that operates Helena school buses, before making the decision. He said, if they waited until Friday to cancel school, they were concerned some families wouldn’t hear the news in time.

“Sometimes we make decisions at 6 o’clock in the morning as to whether or not we’re going to have school,” said Copps. “The unfortunate part of that is a lot of students don’t get the message and they show up.”

District leaders say they are tentatively planning to make up the lost day of classes on June 7.

In the East Helena School District, leaders took the opposite approach. They kept students in class as usual Thursday and plan to hold classes on Friday.

Superintendent Ron Whitmoyer said he didn’t want to send students home in poor conditions, when parents might not have been available to pick them up on short notice. He said he’s confident county and state road crews will be able to make driving conditions safe for his buses by Friday morning.

“In Montana, this kind of thing happens,” said Whitmoyer.

If conditions change and East Helena schools are closed, Whitmoyer said the district will inform parents through their website, social media and direct messages.


Here are the confirmed school closures/delays/early-outs/bus schedules that we know of:

  • Helena Public Schools has been cancelled.

  • Havre Public Schools announced via telephone and text alerts that due to driving conditions buses are canceled and school is canceled for Friday. 

  • Grass Range Public School: Due to the snow and road conditions in the area as well as cold temperatures we will NOT have school tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 9th. Games are also CANCELLED!!! Stay warm and safe!!

  • Harlem Public Schools: For the safety of our students, their families, and our staff we will not have school tomorrow. Stay warm.

  • Winnett School District: NO SCHOOL ON FRIDAY

  • Director for the Area Port of Sweetgrass Daniel Escobedo confirms the Port of Whitlash is closed due to hazardous travel conditions – People should call ahead on Friday to see if it is open – He says Liberty County plows this road and will not get to it until the storm is over
  • Chippewa Cree Tribe has declared that all roads within the reservation boundaries are Closed to Non-Emergency travel.
  • Box Elder: Parents/Guardians, Staff & Students: Due to the winter storm we are currently enduring, we are cancelling school for Friday. The safety of our students and staff is of utmost importance and we want everyone to stay home, safe, and warm. We will see everyone back at school on Monday, February 12, 2018!
  • Due to the weather there will be no school in Heart Butte tomorrow
  • Chinook will have school tomorrow for students living in town. Buses will not be running.
  • Winifred Public School: School will be in session tomorrow, Feb. 9, but the bus routes will NOT run.
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