CalFire's inmate firefighters spent Thursday afternoon shoveling snow from the roof of North Shore Elementary, as part of the community effort to get BVUSD school sites readied for a February 1 re-opening.

After a school holiday (back on January 18) two snow-prompted early-out days (on January 19 and 20) and seven consecutive snow days since, students of Bear Valley Unified School District are scheduled to have their first full day of school in two weeks, come Monday, February 1. In a conversation with KBHR, BVUSD’s Superintendent Dr. Nancy Wright says, “It has been a monumental week of challenges, ten days actually, but I couldn’t be more grateful to the district staff, particularly our maintenance and custodial staff, who have sacrificed time with their own families to be sure that all of our building are safe, that all of our parking lots, driveways, entrances and roofs are all safe for our staff and students, so that we are prepared to open our doors on Monday morning, February 1. In addition, our transportation department staff has been out on the roads, checking to see that we have safe pickup and drop-off points to transport our students on Monday.”
Dr. Wright notes that it has been a community effort to get facilities and bus routes ready while, in the meantime, Big Bear Middle School was offered to the community as a Red Cross Emergency Shelter during the storms. “The City and the County have all contributed,” she adds, “and they have checked in with us and been willing to provide extra support, and they have even gone out to particular bus stops and have cleared more space to provide safe spots for our students to be able to wait for their buses. People have been so cooperative, so supportive in helping us to get our facilities ready so we can go back to normal next week. I very much appreciate the support of the parents, too, because I know we have interrupted family schedules, and they have had to find alternative day care and places for their children to be.”
As students return to school next week, the school district will begin the waiver process, to see if snow days might be reimbursed rather than made up; given state of emergency proclamations at the city, county and state levels, Wright feels that BVUSD would probably be eligible, though a determination will likely be a while in coming. In the meantime, she asks that families recognize that the days of the first week of spring break have been designated as snow makeup days on the school calendar, which was established back in 2008. “We have eight snow days built in to the calendar,” the superintendent says, “so we hope families will plan to send their children to school during that last week in March, which we have calendared as snow makeup days, so that we receive the ADA funding that will allow us to continue important programs at BVUSD. Official spring break is April 5 through the 9th, so those are five spring break days, plus the weekend before and the weekend after.”