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School starts with snow day for many

by MACKENZI KLEMANN - mklemann@wabashplaindealer.com

Today will be the first day of the second semester for many students after the Metropolitan School District of Wabash County and Manchester Community Schools canceled classes on Monday.

Area superintendents say the call to cancel classes or run on a two-hour delay is always difficult to make. Are the roads safe enough for young drivers? Is the wind chill too cold for students to stand outside with exposed skin? These and other factors weigh into each decision.

Monday morning’s icy commute proved too unsafe in the eyes of Metro Schools Superintendent Mike Keaffaber and the Manchester Community Schools’ administration.

Keaffaber says he and fellow administrators test the roads each morning before calling for a two-hour delay or canceling classes. He also considers whether a travel advisory is in effect and how long it takes under current conditions to contract frostbite.

“We really take the safety of children is the number one priority and we look at a lot of factors when we’re making that decision,” he said.

City Schools operated under a two-hour delay on Monday, with Superintendent Jason Callahan saying that city streets were pretty well clear by the time classes started that morning.

Callahan uses the same criteria when determining whether to close school on any given day. For him, the reality of Indiana weather means that school must go on even when the weather isn’t great. The primary call is whether the roads are safe enough to transport students and whether the wind chill is too low for students to wait outside safely.

“It’s never easy calls,” he said.

MSD will start utilizing e-learning days to makeup time once built-in snow days are used, and the school corporation only has one built-in makeup day left before the e-learning policy would kick in.

Keaffaber says that should that happen, e-learning days will be scheduled on the Saturday of the same week if the snow day falls on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Snow days that fall on Thursdays or Fridays will be made up on the Saturday of the next week.