Plainfield Schools: 'Plan For School to be Open' Despite Extreme Cold

Plainfield schools are keeping an eye on the forecast as dangerously cold temperatures could lead to emergency closings in some areas.

This is the National Weather Service’s latest wind chill chart. Please note that temperatures listed in dark blue area are one where frostbite can occur within 15 minutes or less. | Credit: www.crh.noaa.gov/ddc/?n=windchill
This is the National Weather Service’s latest wind chill chart. Please note that temperatures listed in dark blue area are one where frostbite can occur within 15 minutes or less. | Credit: www.crh.noaa.gov/ddc/?n=windchill
Plainfield schools are scheduled to be back in session next week.

But a forecast that's calling for temperatures reaching 5 below to 17 below zero—and feeling like 20 below to 25 below with the wind chill index—leaves the possibility that local schools will extend the break at least an extra day for safety reasons.

As of Friday afternoon, Plainfield schools have said classes will resume as scheduled. The following message was posted to the District 202 website Friday as part of an Education Partners newsletter:

"District officials are aware of the predictions for extreme cold early next week and will continue to monitor the situation.

Meanwhile, at this point, we expect school to be held on Monday. Please plan accordingly – make sure your children are dressed appropriately, or if possible, please drive them to school. Of course, parents can always keep their kids home if they feel conditions are unsafe.

We will notify you as soon as possible through the usual outlets (Connect-ED, the media, the Internet) if we decide to close school.

This is the most current information available. Please do not call your school or the district office."

Click here for information on District 202's school closing policy.

Check back with Patch for updated school closings information. Closings can also be found at EmergencyClosings.com.

What's Too Cold?

Temperatures are expected to hover between 5 below and 17 below zero over the next days, with a wind chill index around 20 below to 25 below, according to the National Weather Service. The agency also is forecasting that wind speeds will reach 20 to 25 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph. 

That combination can lead to hypothermia—when the body loses more heat than it can produce—and frostbite, which can set in within 15 minutes once it reaches dangerously cold temperatures. Check out the wind chill index chart in this article to see what levels those are. And go to the agency's wind chill page for more information.

YOUR TURN: Do you think schools should cancel classes because of the extreme cold? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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Michael Cordin January 03, 2014 at 05:50 PM
I'm sure every student owns enough clothes to stay warm, but they won't wear it. I know Dist. 202 hates to cancel school, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet. The days are built into the calander and are there to be used. I don't enjoy having to "extend" my teaching year, but I also worry about my own safety. It's up to them, and I'm sure if they can have school they will.
Kathy January 03, 2014 at 06:29 PM
PSD202 has always been pretty bad at when/when not to cancel school. Sometimes ONE or TWO schools have flooded/blocked roads or higher snow drifts - but most districts then close the ONE or TWO schools that are impacted - not the entire district! These extremely low temps are dangerous for exposed skin and lungs for the kids at the bus stops - and the buses will probably be late due to the fact they are warming up/resistant to start. Yes, we can bundle the kids up - but the simple fact remains that at 6:30AM wind chills will be awful and any exposure can be a danger. I just hope they decide on Sunday evening and not 6AM Monday - when many early start highschoolers are already at school!! Working parents also need to make arrangements.
Deb January 03, 2014 at 07:22 PM
Its freezing outside NOW. I had on sweat shirt, sweat pants, boots, gloves, hoodie, hood up, scarf and gloves, and Im home. It took me 30 minutes to get WARM... I will not send my asthmatic kid out in that cold. They can do their school work from home.
David Johnson January 03, 2014 at 07:39 PM
It's not the district's responsibility to keep your kid warm at the bus stop. It's yours! If you don't think it's safe for them to stand out there, get your lazy butt out there and drive them.
Deb January 03, 2014 at 07:52 PM
Per Tom Hernandez, keep your kid home if you want to, but I will simply drive my kids if need be.
Margaret Neff-Cross January 03, 2014 at 08:42 PM
Drivers are coming in early on Monday to ensure the buses are on time to first stop. So have your children ready to go. Plainfield hates to call school off that is a fact. At least a call saying were monitoring it. Its a step in the right direction.
Herc January 03, 2014 at 10:06 PM
The decision should be up to the parent, if they feel it's to cold then don't send them!
Keepingitreal January 04, 2014 at 07:51 AM
Some parents work schedules prevent them from being able to drop their kids off. What about the moms with young babies? Are they supposed to bring them out in order to drop off older siblings? Then there are the kids who live in the "walking" subdivisions whose parents are at work. It's too dangerous for them to walk. Any time there is this much hoopla about the weather conditions, I say err on the side of caution and keep the kids home.
David Johnson January 04, 2014 at 09:04 AM
What comes first? Work or kids? Anyway,if they cancel school as you suggest, a parent won't be going to work at all.
Sunny D January 04, 2014 at 09:46 AM
Plainfield school district please don't forget that we lost a special girl several years back on the first day back to school after Christmas break. The weather was terrible and they should have closed the schools and they didn't. A young girls life was lost that day.
David Johnson January 04, 2014 at 09:58 AM
Here we go.
ja mee January 04, 2014 at 10:26 AM
This was such a ridiculous message. It will be cold... You can drive your kids or keep your kids at home if you think it's too dangerous - enough said. Really?
Plainfield Resident January 04, 2014 at 08:25 PM
It's not that it will be cold; it is that it will be dangerously cold. It is predicted to be -50 wind chill. If you have any skin exposed for a few minutes you can get frostbite. I feel bad for walkers, and kids standing at the bus stops. But that isn't the only issue here...I can't be the only person that is wondering what a school would do if the fire alarm went off and the students didn't have their coats on? Maybe I am because I am a teacher (in another district) where I have spent time out in the cold for fire 'drills'. Obviously they wouldn't have a drill on Monday, however, who is to say a foods classroom, auto classroom, woods classroom, science classroom, another classroom or another reason didn't cause an alarm to sound? Things happen.
Tracie Freeman January 04, 2014 at 08:54 PM
Michael, weather days are not built into Plainfield's school calendar.
ja mee January 04, 2014 at 09:09 PM
Of course we all know it will be DANGEROUSLY COLD ... Which was my point. The other point is - if most of the kids miss classes how can teachers proceed with their lesson? To start new material with half the student body missing is ridiculous! It will be a blow off day for everyone at school.
Plainfield Resident January 04, 2014 at 09:14 PM
Tracie, Plainfield does have emergency/weather days built into the school calendar. They do it every year. You can find them on the school districts web-site. This year the emergency/weather days are May 27 - May 30 and June 2.
im_mimi January 05, 2014 at 11:29 AM
David Johnson, I think you are judging others by your own fortunate situation of being able to take days off when your children have to stay home when they are not sick. Sometimes it's not a matter of choosing your job over your children, it's a matter of having to work in order to maintain a decent lifestyle for your family. In saying that, I have to emphasize that if the school district closes in view of the extreme cold I agree that the decision should be made by this evening so childcare arrangements can be made. **Can I call you Mr. Johnson, since you will obviously be staying at home?
David Johnson January 05, 2014 at 11:46 AM
im_mimi All parents should have A B C D E and F plans for the care of their children. It's that important. If a day off school for the kids throws a parent's entire world into chaos, that's a lack of planning on the parent's part. All these parents who complain about days off school and what it does to their work schedule are not victims, they're just poor planners.
Jim Babaniotis January 28, 2014 at 02:40 PM
Too cold for school? Growing up with PHS, classes were cancelled like once. I believe that we had 6 foot snow drifts? I don't think school should be cancelled based solely on the temps being cold. If parents feel they need to keep their kids home, fine. But there are a lot of working parents who's jobs didn't cancel work because it is too cold, and may not be able to arrange care.
Herc January 28, 2014 at 02:48 PM
It will be warmer tomorrow so there should be school. But like you Jim, school was never closed when I went.


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