Columbia Public Schools prepare for snow this winter season

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COLUMBIA — Possible light snow flurries of the season are bringing about winter preparations.

KOMU 8 weathercaster Tim Schmidt said a “light dusting” is expected by early this evening.

“We’re looking at snow flurries throughout the day with a light dusting possible over central and southern parts of the state."

While a large snowfall is not expected, Columbia Public Schools are still preparing for snow conditions.

Michelle Baumstark, the Columbia Public Schools spokesperson, said the school system is closely monitoring the weather so decisions can be made moving forward.

The school system looks at winter conditions including wind chill, temperature, snowfall accumulation, road conditions and more before making any decisions about school cancellations.

Columbia Public Schools also have the option to utilize a two-hour delayed start to the school day, as well as early dismissal. However, Baumstark said early dismissal is problematic for many reasons.

"We want to make sure that there is a proper adult at home to be able to let students in, make sure that they have a safe place to go after school," Baumstark said. "Getting a hold of parents in the middle of a school or work day is difficult sometimes so we will only do that in extreme cases where we feel like it is a safety concern."

The Columbia Public School system aims to notify parents as quickly as possible, according to Baumstark.

School and activity scheduling changes will be announced through a parent-messaging system that sends out text messages and emails. The announcements can also be found on its website, phone app and local media outlets will also be notified.

Baumstark also noted the school system has alternate bus and parent snow routes recommended on snowy and icy days to help drivers steer clear of problematic roads. She urged parents to make sure they know the routes.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is also reminding motorists to be prepared for snowy road conditions.

"Even a little precipitation can cause slippery roads, so drivers need to be alert and drive for the conditions," said MoDOT Central District Maintenance Engineer Randy Aulbur. "While we're not expecting a large accumulation of snow, it is the first time folks have experienced winter weather in mid-Missouri this year, so we encourage them to allow extra time for their travels and slow down if they encounter snowy roads."

MoDOT also has plows ready to use and it asks drivers to stay clear of the plows out on the roads.