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Snow forces some Magic Valley schools to close most of the week

Snow blows over a road in southwest Wyoming.
Madelyn Beck
Boise State Public Radio
File photo: Snow blows over a road in southwest Wyoming.

The Magic Valley has seen an unusual amount of snow this week, making it difficult to keep the roads clear and forcing some school districts to close for days.

Timothy Harris is the public works director for the city of Wendell, in Gooding County, and part of the city’s five-person snow-plowing team.

"I'd say the last real snow that we got like this was in 2016," he said.

He said the roads are in good shape after about 7 inches of snow fell this week, but heavy winds continue to push snow back onto the roads, keeping the plows busy.

“Just last night I had a phone call from one of my guys saying, 'hey look there’s right about 2 inches,' so I showed up last night about 2 o’clock in the morning,” he said.

The Shoshone Highway District, which covers part of Lincoln County, has a four-person snow-clearing team, and it takes them all day to make their way through the district's roads.

"We do the best we can with what we have," said Mark Kime, with the highway district.

Wendell’s schools were closed through Thursday because the road conditions in the rural outskirts are still dangerous. The district operates a four-day week, so there are no classes Friday.

It was a similar story for the Cassia County School District, where some students travel an hour by bus each way, said communication director Debbie Critchfield.

“It was simply not manageable to be able to get our students back and forth where they needed to be in any type of safe manner," she said.

Students got snow days on Tuesday and Wednesday there. Critchfield said Cassia has a four-day schedule as well, meaning there isn't much wiggle room to make up for lost classroom time. As a result, the district is holding school on two Fridays in January.

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen 

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