Thursday, Feb. 1, 1979 | 6 a.m.
Clark County students can sleep late Thursday as unusually icy roads, freezing temperature and piled up snowflakes forced the closing of 107 public schools and UNLV.
"I can't remember when they last closed the school district," said Superintendent Claude Perkins, who made the decision late Wednesday afternoon. "We hoped the weather would break and it would start raining but the snow has kept coming."
All students, teachers, bus drivers and others on a nine-month contract will stay home, except custodians and other maintenance personnel.
Classes at UNLV were canceled Wednesday night and Thursday, although Thursday night classes were scheduled. At Clark County Community College, classes were called off Wednesday night, and a decision on whether to close school Thursday was due by early morning.
Meanwhile, administrative offices at the school district and university will be open, with principals and secretaries reporting for work.
Perkins said a makeup day would be scheduled later this year, but schools would probably be open Friday.
"I've been getting calls all day. It's best to make a decision as soon as possible," he said.
And although schools were open Wednesday, students in outlying areas and some sixth graders stayed home. Bus routes to Blue Diamond, Sandy Valley and Goodsprings were canceled because of the strangely fierce weather, and some buses bound for sixth-grade centers turned around en route to schools.
Two minor bus accidents occurred Wednesday morning.
Various high school principals reported snowball fights and wet students unaccustomed to winter weather that most other Americans dread every year.
"It was a madhouse," said John Vandenberg, an assistant principal at Bonanza High School. "We had a lot of kids with wet feet, hair and clothing. Many got picked up by their parents. It was exactly the way you'd expect."
And Bonanza principal Scott Chalfant, who was hit by a few snowballs, said "it was a novelty to most of the kids and they couldn't resist the temptation to be late to class."
"A lot of people weren't prepared for it," said Bonanza student Richard Ostrander. "When the kids saw it, they said 'all right, it's party time.' They picked up snowballs and waited for the next victim."
Outside Bonanza High - like schools throughout Clark County - the white round balls uncommon to Las Vegas were flying very fast.