Snow week for Panhandle area, school districts help to conserve energy

Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 10:29 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 18, 2021 at 10:30 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Not just a snow day, but a snow week.

Students who attend one of the five Amarillo area school districts have been out of school since Monday and won’t return to the classroom unit next Monday.

To help conserve energy in a time of need, many students in and around the Amarillo and Canyon area have been off all week.

“Tuesday through Friday we had planned to come to school this current week, due to the need to conserve power, energy, electricity, the natural gas resources, our organizations across the Potter and Randall areas have opted to say ‘lets conserve our power and our resources’,” said Darryl Flusche, superintendent of Canyon ISD.

Many city leaders agreed closing schools would help.

“They have a large footprint. As far as their facilities go, most of them are fairly large facilities,” said Max Dunlap, deputy director of Amarillo Emergency Management.

Amarillo ISD says, as the city’s largest employer, they have the ability to have an impact by conserving.

“The circumstances around the energy shortage, it’s greater than a school district, it’s greater than a classroom, it’s about this whole community,” said Flusche.

Amarillo Emergency Management also says closing school buildings helped.

“It truly did make an impact. The representatives from both Xcel and Atmos both stated that they could see a visible difference in usage numbers in their daily reports,” said Dunlap.

As for school being canceled for an entire week due to weather, some superintendents say they have never witnessed anything like it.

“There’s always a time, when you have a great big snow and you might be off for more than one day and have to make adjustments. As far as the risk of the electricity loss or the natural gas loss, that is unprecedented for as long as I can remember,” said Flusche.

When it comes to making up these days off, there’s a good chance students won’t have to.

“Texas Education Agency allows a wavier for these lost instructional minutes related to either weather conditions or potential power outages,” said Flusche.

If the wavier is approved, Texas school districts will not have to make up these missed days.

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