Frigid Temps Thursday Prompt School Closings - The Missourian: Local News

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Frigid Temps Thursday Prompt School Closings

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Posted: Saturday, January 25, 2014 12:15 pm

It was another day off Thursday for students in the Washington School District.

Classes also were canceled Tuesday due to a mix of snow and ice.

This time it was the extreme cold with strong winds that prompted school officials to cancel classes.

A wind chill advisory was issued for the entire area Wednesday evening through late Thursday morning with wind chills from 5 to 20 degrees below zero.

“It’s never easy trying to decide whether to call school off,” Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer told The Missourian.

“I always utilize the NOAA wind chill chart in the decision-making process, and that chart states that when temps hit 19 degrees below zero, frostbite can set in just 15 minutes,” she said. “That’s a huge concern with the number of kids we have riding on buses.

“Some of our routes are 50 to 60 minutes long and if the buses are not able to stay warm we could be putting our kids in harm’s way, plus there is the concern of the buses running properly and on time, and we don’t want kids standing at bus stops in this cold.”

VanLeer said several school districts north of the river also canceled school for the same reason.

“I know the other districts in Franklin County did have school, but we have a much larger geographical area, we have more bus routes and more kids on buses, and probably even more walkers,” she said.

VanLeer said this latest day off will be made up on Presidents Day, Monday, Feb. 17.

“We are now at seven days to make up and even before today, kids will be in school until Friday, May 30, so we felt being in session on Presidents Day would be the best way to go,” she said.

Asked how any future snow days will be made up, VanLeer said it’s an issue administrators will have to discuss.

“At this point, the state’s forgiveness of snow days will start to kick in which means we have to make up one day for every two days missed going forward, which would put us into June,” she said. “There might be some other wiggle room within the calendar, such as the Monday after Easter, but no decisions have been made.

“We will just continue to monitor the weather and the calendar,” she said.

VanLeer said having the regular school year extend into June does pose problems because of the summer school session.

Students also will be in session Thursday, April 17, shortening Easter break. The last day of school is now scheduled for May 30.

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