Too Cold for School?

Too Cold for School?

Madison Ross

Frigid temperatures have arrived at the end of January. On Wednesday, January 26th, 2022, the wind chill brought it down to about -22°F as students began to warm up their cars and make their way to their bus stops (temperature according to the Weather Channel).

With this drop in temperature, there has been speculation regarding District 155 implementing days off due to the cold. There was a lot of speculation on the 25th, after the National Weather Service issued a wind chill advisory, that in-person school on the 26th would be canceled and a remote learning day held in its place. When this didn’t occur, students began to wonder why. Some said that it was because the actual temperature was warmer than the wind chill (the Weather Channel said it was -12°F at the same time as the wind chill was -22°F), while others thought it might be because the wind chill needed to dip below -25°F for school to get canceled.

According to the American Burn Association, you should “avoid or limit outdoor activities when the temperature nears or dips below 5°F” in order to avoid frostbite. However, in the midwest, where temperatures commonly drop below that metric in the winter months, it would be very impractical to use this as a basis to cancel school. Another source, the Cleveland Clinic’s website, states that “frostbite can occur in as little as in 10 minutes when skin is exposed to temps that are -10 F.” The temperature on Wednesday dipped below this number, however, the source also goes on to say that winter gear such as coats, gloves, and hats limit the danger of these temperatures and allow people to stay out in the cold longer without getting frostbite.

These metrics are not used by the district to determine whether or not to cancel school due to the cold. Though the district website does not specify what metrics they use, it does state that “learning will continue on a remote basis during inclement weather” and that parents “ultimately make the decision to keep [their] child home during inclement weather.”

Though the 26th was not a remote learning day for the entire school, the option to learn remotely was given to students in bus zones, as the buses were running late that morning. Students who live in bus zones but have alternative transportation to school were also given notice, and many of these students decided to go with the option to learn from home.

For students still wondering about how the district makes decisions regarding school closures, the answer may lie in what other school districts have announced. According to the Washington Post “the Department of Public Health in Monroe County, N.Y., has urged school districts to stick to closing school if the wind chill is “negative 25 degrees”.

As we move into the just-as-cold month of February, it’s important to remember to stay safe in the cold, whether it is cold enough for an e-learning day or not. Warm coats, gloves, and hats and limiting your time spent outside in frigid temperatures protects you from getting frostbite. Stay safe!



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