January 22, 2009

Forecasts For 40-Below-Zero Wind Chills Force School Districts to Cancel Classes

Ice, snow and now just plain old cold have cost the Scotland County R-I school district class time. SCR-I, as well as a number of other northeast Missouri schools canceled classes on January 15th and 16th due to abnormally cold conditions.

Thursday’s forecast called for wind chill factors close to 40 below zero. The temperature dropped to 15 below zero Thursday morning.

“In a rural district, with the amount of time our kids spend on a bus getting to and from school, we just felt it was safer not to risk having any problems,” said Superintendent Dave Shalley.

Shalley stated that he had been in discussions with area superintendents regarding the impending cold weather for several days and they have agreed that 25 below zero was the unofficial freezing point as far as school cancellations were concerned.

“I can recall a couple other times that we dismissed school because of the cold, but this is the first time since I have been an administrator,” Shalley said.

The cold days marked the third and fourth day of classes canceled due to the weather. One of those days was made up on Monday, January 19th, which had originally been scheduled as a holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. The district also has an additional snow day built into the 175 day calendar. The state requires district’s to hold classes for 174 days.

The other two weather days will be made up at the end of the year. Recent changes at the state level now allow districts that miss more than six days because of bad weather, make up only ½ of the time. So for every two days beyond the six-day limit, a district would only have to be in session one extra day.

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