Anchorage School District Superintendent Jharrett Bryantt shared this week that the municipality and state’s challenges with plowing were to blame for the closure of schools and buses getting stuck once they reopened after the snowstorms in August 2022. During an interview, he expressed frustration with Mayor Dave Bronson, who had asked him to keep schools closed for an additional day to allow more time for plowing. Bryantt also defended his decision to switch to remote learning through most of the week, emphasizing that student safety was his top priority.
The situation after the major snowstorms remains challenging for parents and students, with many forced to miss work or arrange childcare during remote learning days. Road conditions continued to be hazardous despite the snowy weather tapering off and the city and state working to clear the streets. The district reached out to the municipality for assistance, and was told that the roads would be clear by Thursday, however, that didn’t happen.
Bryantt expressed frustration with how Mayor Bronson conveyed his opinions about the school closures, and articulated that the decisions were made based on expert advice. With challenges in road maintenance, he believes remote learning may continue to be the norm in the future. While remote learning has been effective, it’s not the ideal situation for long-term use.
Despite frustration from the community, Bryantt highlighted that his decisions were based on expert advice and prioritizing student safety, and not on personal preferences or assumptions. He also addressed assumptions about his ability to understand snow and Alaska winter conditions as a Texan and emphasized that those assumptions are irrelevant when it comes to prioritizing student safety.