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School in rainy Washington state closes for rare 'sun day'

By Jonathan Kaminsky

OLYMPIA, Washington (Reuters) - A school in perpetually wet Washington state is taking a novel twist on the classical snow day, welcoming in the warm air and blue skies of spring on Friday with a rare break from classes it is dubbing a "sun day."

The idea, said Bob Sampson, principal of Bellingham Christian School in northern Washington, was "to create that same anticipation, joy and fun" that comes with a snow day.

"I just loved that as a kid," Sampson said. "I love it as an adult being able to cancel school due to snow. But this year there were no snow days."

Instead, Sampson decided to give the 205 kids and almost all of the staff at the pre-K through 8 school a different kind of day off. As the school's website explains, "SCHOOL CANCELLED DUE TO GREAT WEATHER! WAHOOO!"

This is not the first sun day in the school's history. There was one in 2010, and another a few years before that, Sampson said. They are sporadic largely because they can only come in years without snow days - a relative rarity in Bellingham, which sits less than 25 miles from the Canadian border.

Sampson said students had been anxiously awaiting the sun day since he announced it as a possibility last week. The requirements: A forecast of at least 63 degrees and, of course, sun.

Thursday was looking likely before the clouds stubbornly refused to clear, leaving many pupils disappointed, Sampson said.

To accommodate parents with unbending work schedules, Sampson and another staff member offered childcare in place of school. But by 10 a.m. on Friday morning, nobody had showed up to drop off their kids.

"It looks like I'm going to get the day off, too," he said.

(This story has been corrected to remove reference to Sampson arriving at office, paragraph eight)

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Nick Zieminski)

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