February 27, 2013
After Tuesday night, sleepovers for the students who got stranded by blizzard conditions at Miami-Yoder School District just won’t measure up.
About 60 of them spent the night at their school about a 45 minutes east of Colorado Springs, a rural area prone to high winds and flash blizzards. It was a night of pizza, snack food, sodas, board games, basketball – you get the idea.
The kids, elementary and secondary students, left the school by bus for their homes at about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
"One student said to me: 'Can we stay? It was fun,' " said Sharon Webb, the school’s principal.
Such extreme shifts in weather are not unexpected in these flatlands, she said. As a result, the school has a crisis plan.
“You can have sunshine one minute and 10 minutes later you can have a raging blizzard without any notice,” Webb said. “That’s what happened to us.”
The area was hit by a winter storm that rolled through the area Tuesday afternoon and evening.
Webb said school was dismissed at 3:45 p.m. Tuesday after a round of calls indicated that the weather was safe. The kids boarded buses and headed home.
Two buses on northern routes returned.
“They got halfway through their routes and hit white-out conditions,” Webb said. “They brought those students back to school. Safety is No. 1. You get them back to the building.”
Male secondary students slept on wrestling mats in the cafeteria, while the girls slept on gymnastic mats in a classroom, Webb said.
Elementary school-aged kids slept on mats that they use to nap on during the day.
There was plenty of food in the cafeteria and concession stand, Webb said.
"We had plenty of food," she said.
Webb was among those who spent the night with the kids. A couple of teachers, custodians and bus drivers also spent the night.
She got little sleep, but had no complaints. Media calls kept her up, including ABC's "Good Morning America."
"It wasn't bad at all," she said. "I had a pizza and soda. It was an enjoyable time, the kids had a great time and their behavior was great."