BELLINGHAM, Wash. — And on the fifth day of spring the sun came out over western Washington, so Bellingham Christian School rested.
The private nondenominational Christian elementary school on Wednesday canceled classes for a “sun day,” which can be a rarity at this time of year in the gray, soggy Pacific Northwest.
"Good morning students, parents and staff. Yes, It's a Sun Day! Wahooo. That's right, school is CANCELLED today due to good weather! Enjoy!" Principal Bob Sampson wrote on a page on the school's Web site. The page also features a picture of him in a T-shirt and shorts giving a thumbs-up from the seat of his year-old Suzuki 450 motorcycle.
Sampson said the school, which serves 183 children from preschool through eighth grade, didn't use up any snow days this year due to an unusually warm winter so it could afford to give teachers and students a break due to sun.
"In Washington we often have soggy winters and spring. We all love the sun up here. Sometimes we cancel school due to snow. So one day I thought, if we don’t have any snow days why not do that for good weather?" Sampson told msnbc.com by telephone from the school, where he was helping mind the five kids whose parents apparently didn't get the spontaneous day-off message in time, or who needed day care.
Sampson said parents were surveyed and they thought it was a great idea.
Weatherman gets it right
Lindsay Tkacsik, who works as an officer manager at the school and has fourth- and sixth-grade daughters enrolled there, was among the enthusiastic approvers.
"Our kids and staff work so hard all year round. Snow days sometimes are a challenge to accommodate, but kids always enjoy them anyway. When we don’t have one in the winter sometimes it can be a fun treat to do this instead," she told msnbc.com.
Tkacsik's plan for the unexpected day off: Pack a picnic and take the girls to the Greater Vancouver Zoo in British Columbia.
Sampson said Bellingham Christian has done this once before, a few years ago. He announced this year's closure Wednesday morning, when he saw that the forecast met the school board's requirements for such a cancelation — clear skies and at least 63 degrees. He sent e-mails to parents Tuesday night to give them a heads-up on what was likely to happen.
"It's been great in creating a positive climate. The kids look forward to it as well as the teachers, and we still have required number of hours we need for accreditation," Sampson said.
"There are so many negative things out there in the world. I think it's important to work hard but also to let kids know that kids can have fun and adults can have fun. It's just a positive thing."
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