Snowball Spirit Week Disrupted By Snow Days

Much like the roads in Anchorage, the much-anticipated Snowball spirit week and dance were ruined by “Snowzilla 2022”. The spirit week was planned to be paired with a pep assembly to build excitement for the upcoming Snowball Dance. Throughout the entirety of Monday December 6th and Tuesday December 7th, the hallways were teeming with students donning pajamas and holiday themed sweaters. 

However, these plans came to a crashing halt when the Anchorage School District (ASD) determined the roads to be unsafe for travel Wednesday morning. The call was made as a result of excessive snowfall from Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. According to the National Weather Service, well over a foot of snow settled across Anchorage in a 24-hour period.

As the day progressed, many roads, especially those in neighborhoods, remained uncleared. Many vehicles became stuck and traffic slowed throughout the city. These issues continued, further extrapolating the danger that caused the first cancellation made by ASD. Since there was no sign of these problems dissipating before Thursday morning, ASD sent out a second announcement Wednesday night declaring another closure for Thursday.

Thursday progressed similarly to Wednesday with little development in the state of driving conditions on the roads. Traffic and road safety remained an issue, but it surprised many when schools were closed once again Friday morning. In order to solve these problems by Monday, ASD coordinated with the Municipality of Anchorage in an attempt to bring the roads back to a safe condition. ASD prioritizes safety for all students, particularly focusing on younger students who take the school bus when evaluating road conditions. 

Despite giving students a chance for some extra sleep, the three days of closure disrupted many events at West High. The first and most obvious consequence is the missing of regular classes. Missing these three days puts all courses three days behind schedule. With finals creeping ever closer that could prove detrimental to students. In addition, these closures also prevented sports and club practices, setting these behind as well.

Two of the most exciting aspects of the week, spirit days and the assembly, had to be called off as they couldn’t proceed without the school days. These were meant to lead up to the main event of the week, the Snowball Dance. Unfortunately, Snowball had to be canceled as well due to the poor road conditions.

Some events, however, persisted despite the cancellations and road conditions. For West, these included the region IV wrestling tournament, hockey games scheduled through the Municipality of Anchorage, Nordic ski meet at Kincaid Park, West’s Holiday Bazaar, as well as the Robotics open qualifier.

After the weekend, hopes were high that students would return to school Monday December 12th. However, large amounts of snow fell Sunday night, causing another cancellation Monday morning. After school activities on Monday were also canceled. However, Monday night ASD issued an announcement to families stating that students would return to school Tuesday unless unforeseen events caused weather conditions to worsen.

Heavy snow canceled ASD schools December seventh through December ninth as well as December twelfth as roads and traffic remained in dangerous conditions. This decision disrupted academic and recreational activities alike but in the end the decision helped keep ASD students, staff, and parents safe. As roads are cleared up and students return to school on Tuesday December thirteenth, things seem to be returning to the regular ebb and flow.