Some schools stay open despite below-zero wind chills - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Some schools stay open despite below-zero wind chills

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UNION CO., Ill. -- How cold is too cold to keep kids out of school?

A number of schools in Union County stayed in session Wednesday despite several others in southern Illinois cancelling classes due to below-zero wind chills.

Lick Creek superintendent Brent Boren said it all boils down to how much exposure to the cold students face.

"The biggest factor to consider is student safety overall," Boren said. "We don't want to ever do anything to jeopardize our students. We make the best decisions we can based on the information given to us."

Boren said there weren't any problems with students coming to school Wednesday morning.

"Our students don't walk to school like in other districts," Boren said. "We don't have bus stops where students wait for the bus. Our buses pick the kids up directly from home and bring them to school, or over half of our students are dropped of here at school by parents."

Anna Jonesboro High School also held classes Wednesday.

"When I looked at all the conditions, quite honestly, I was quite surprised to see that many schools had ended up not going today," superintendent Rob Wright said.

Wright said he never really considered cancelling school.

"I've also mentioned to a few that they'll probably thank me because it's one less day in May that they'll have to attend when it's 80 degrees outside," Wright said about having to add an extra school day to the calendar if they cancel school for any reason during the year.

Other schools had more issues with the cold weather though, like the Frankfort Community Unit School District.

Superintendent Matt Donkin said he worried about students out in the cold.

"(We) estimate how many of our students ride buses, stand at bus stops, walk or bicycle to school, and then try to make a decision based on the safest options we thought we had," Donkin said.

Each school official says there are a number of factors that play into school closures, but ultimately student safety is at the heart of each decision.

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