Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The How and the Why of When We Dismiss Early

I thought I would take a moment to talk about weather related closings and early dismissals. No one wants to cancel school or dismiss early when it can be avoided. The problem with extreme heat is that it creates an uncomfortable learning environment and can be particularly difficult on the younger grades. Additionally, long bus rides are often required by many students to get home. Our buildings are not air-conditioned and the majority of our busses are not air-conditioned. Here in Illinois we are conditioned for dealing with heat and humidity to greater extent than maybe our neighboring states to the North and East might be. With that being said, a forecasted real-feel of 102, 105, 107 etc. is not the normal heat/humidity highs for this time of year. It is always hot when school starts, but this is an extremely hot stretch and our decisions to stay full days, dismiss early, or cancel school are all made with the best interest of our students in mind. We try to announce schedule changes early enough to allow for planning or schedule changing for parents - whenever we can. The following information regarding school attendance and weather can be found at the Illinois State Board of Education Website: http://www.isbe.net/funding/html/heat_days.htm The section begins with the following statement - that I take very seriously: A major responsibility of a local school superintendent is the health and safety of your students. As far as sports and the coop are concerned we try to error on the side of caution. Often the weather is better outside than in. All practices that cannot be moved to a better time are voluntary and the coaches are directed to provide plenty of physical breaks and water breaks. With the coop this often creates issues regarding busses and gym/practice field space. We work as closely as possible with Astoria when these issues arise.

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