Snow, Cold Cause Nearly 100 Schools To Close

Sioux Falls School District Dismisses Class Two Hours Early

With several inches of snow expected in parts of South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota, nearly 100 schools made the decision to either close or dismiss early.

While the Sioux Falls School District dismissed classes two hours early, districts in some rural areas decided to let students go even earlier.

When bad weather threatens the area, the Sioux Falls School District has 23,000 students to worry about.

School Falls School District Business Manager Todd Vik said, “We just thought with as much snow that was going to get dumped on the city in a few hours right when traffic picks up in the city, we thought it was best to get kids home and get them home safe.”

While Jim Hargens has only about a thousand students to care for and 16 bus routes, the Superintendent says the West Lyon Community School District faces different challenges.

Hargens said, “We’ve got four towns: Larchwood, Inwood, Lester and Alvord. We’ve got the rural families as well.”

Their school buses have to cover 275 square miles and face all different kinds of terrain. Their longest route is 50 minutes without the snow and wind.

“Your ditches in some areas can be full of snow already so it doesn’t take a lot to start blowing and start plugging up those roads on you,” said Hargens.

For those reasons he made the decision to dismiss school at 11:30 a.m.

Hargens said, “It seems like every so often this happens. You’ve got all last week off and the weather doesn’t come then but the first day returning, it comes. It’s kind of the way things go.”

Dustin Kooima came from Inwood to pick up his kids from West Lyon. With the amount of snow expected, the decision didn’t come as a surprise.

Kooima said, “They said it was supposed to and we live in this area, it’s, you gotta be ready no matter what.”

Even if they were in school only for a couple of hours.

“They gave us a break! So we’re okay now,” said Kooima.

And so are his kids. His son Aden already has his snow day planned out.

Kooima’s 2nd grader Aden said, “… playing video games, watching T.V., stuff like that.”

West Lyon Community School District has already called off school a couple of times this year. They typically see around six or seven snow related cancellations or dismissals each year.