Davenport cancels school on the first day back from winter break


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A North American snow storm shows conditions that would cause a school cancellation. Once wind chill reaches 20-25 degrees below zero, then district officials make the decision to cancel or delay school while keeping student’s health and safety in mind.

Georgia Witt, Reporter

West High School rang in the new year by cancelling school on Jan. 2. Some students were quite happy about this decision, while others were pretty disappointed. Dr. Art Tate cancelled school for the first time since Jan. 6, 2015. The Davenport Community School District was one of the few districts back in session after winter break.
The average person can find all of the requirements for cancelling school on the district website. The district has to put 15,000 students across the span of four communities into consideration before making a decision. Once the wind chill is 20-25 below zero, the district officials begin discussing cancelling school.
The Davenport District website states that “ The primary consideration in making decisions will be based on the health and safety of students.” This means that if the weather threatens the health and safety of students, then delaying or cancelling school will become a serious consideration. Hypothermia and frostbite are realistic issues for those students that walk to school or have to wait for a bus.District officials also consider whether or not it is warm enough for buses to run. This is necessary for students who live a bit farther and cannot walk to school and do not have a ride. It is crucial for the health of all students to not be outside longer than five minutes, in negative temperatures, as frostbite is a concern.
“We cancel school when the conditions are past practice. This is when there is a wind chill warning, they will either delay or cancel schools,” building secretary Lisa Rostenbach said.
Students can agree that school should be cancelled when it is too cold and some even believe that once conditions are in the negatives, school should be cancelled.
“I feel that anytime it is below zero degrees, school should be cancelled. I feel this because students shouldn’t be outside when the temperatures drop below zero,” sophomore Americaus Geest said.
School is cancelled based on the wind chill outside, not the actual temperature. So, although the temp has been lower than it was on Tuesday, Jan. 2, the wind chill has not been as low.
“A lot goes into consideration when cancelling school. The superintendents in surrounding districts discuss as early as 4:30 a.m. whether or not they are going to cancel. If there is a wind chill advisory, they are less likely to cancel as those are more frequent, whereas if there is a wind chill warning, school is more likely to get cancelled,” media relations and communications specialist for the Davenport District Dawn Saul said.
“When the district actually decides to cancel school, they should let students know either the day before or by 6 a.m. Students are usually walking to their bus stops by 6, so they should be given a notice in advance that they don’t have to go,” freshman William Heirings said.
On the morning of Jan. 8, road conditions caused neighboring districts such as Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley, and North Scott to have late starts. Davenport Schools remained in session and on time.
“When the decision was made to late start surrounding districts on January 8th, they had made the decision by 5:30 in the morning the day of. The reasoning they were late started and Davenport wasn’t is due to Davenport having a more spread out community, where a district like North Scott has more students living in a rural area, making it harder to drive on the gravel roads,” Saul said.
The districts determine whether or not to late start by how well the roads have been treated and if they deem it safe enough to drive on. They send a bus manager out early in the morning to drive around to test conditions. The bus manager is the person who is in charge of deeming the conditions unsafe to drive in.
“The district can call students to school when they deem conditions favorable [enough], but it is ultimately the parent’s/guardian’s decision to send their child to school,” Saul said.