There wasn’t a lot of snowfall across Elkhart County Tuesday, but freezing temperatures with wind chills below zero caused local schools to cancel or delay classes.
“Every one of these is in some respect a difficult decision,” said Doug Hasler, Elkhart Community Schools’ executive director of support services.
Elkhart Community Schools canceled classes Tuesday primarily because administrators didn’t want “kids walking to school, kids standing at bus stops” in this weather, especially with walk zones around elementary schools of up to 1 mile and at middle and high schools of up to 2 miles, Hasler said. Administrators’ weather delay and cancellation decisions largely hinge on the safety of students getting to and from school.
Meteorologists’ predictions had the temperature rising through the morning, but not enough to make just a two-hour delay worthwhile, he said.
Elkhart and Penn-Harris-Madison were the two local school districts that canceled classes, according to The Elkhart Truth’s reported delays and cancellations. Baugo, Concord, Goshen, Fairfield, Middlebury and Wa-Nee all had two-hour delays.
Diane Woodworth, superintendent of Goshen Community Schools, said that Goshen administrators called the two-hour delay because they thought the slightly warmer temperatures later in the morning would be sufficient for students to safely get to school. Goshen has 1-mile walk zone radius around its schools.
“I know that for many of our families child care can be an issue, even with just a two-hour delay,” she said about why they went with the two-hour delay.
The delay also allowed for classes to start after sunrise, which Woodworth said makes it easier for students walking to school.