ST. LOUIS — Collinsville students will be out of school again Wednesday. It's the first district to call off classes Wednesday because of the cold. A handful of other districts called off Tuesday. For the most up-to-date closings, click here.
With the health and safety of thousands of students to consider, the choice to cancel classes can sometimes lead to sleepless nights for school administrators. But one superintendent told Five on Your Side, sometimes the weather decision is a no-brainer.
“Canceling school and adding another day at the end of the year is a safer option than having kids on bus stops, waiting. Even if it's just a couple of minutes longer,” said Edwardsville Community Unit District 7 Superintendent Dr. Lynda Andre.
The district's process has been honed over the last two decades. It involves a team watching the forecast and often making many late-night calls based on projected early morning conditions.
“There's not an exact number. But I'd say when we get to double-digit below zero with wind chill, those are our concerns,” said Andre.
We Rock The Spectrum Kids Gym in Edwardsville was a busy place Tuesday.
“When I unlocked the doors I had people waiting outside,” said employee Sierra Horst.
Moms like Kelly Barrett spent the day there having fun with their kids. Barrett's older son is in junior high. She says he was dreading going back to school, and not just because of the homework.
“He was like, 'I don't want to stand at the bus stop when it's really cold out.'”
Barret's son was pleased to hear the news about school being called off. But as a parent, Barrett says last-minute cancellations can be tough to deal with.
“We've had to do shuffling or seeing who is going to stay at home with him.”
Even with the added stress, Barrett says she'll never fault a school for erring on the side of caution.
“I understand. Especially when there are families that don't have the proper clothing for kiddos at the bus stops when it's super, super cold.”
5 On Your Side checked with other big districts in our area about their cold-weather cancellation policies. The Francis Howell District says it's a case-by-case basis depending on conditions. The Rockwood School District in St. Louis County tells us they also focus on the morning bus stop forecast and wind chill.