Meadville Tribune

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January 7, 2014

Area school districts close ahead of frigid Tuesday

(Continued)

MEADVILLE — Be careful out there ...

Local school districts have different criteria for deciding when it’s too cold to play outdoors. In Crawford Central, for example, recess moves indoors when the temperature (including wind chill) hits 20 degrees, while Conneaut School District starts keeping kids indoors closer to the 25 degree mark.

School newsletters and websites are a rich source of tips for dealing with cold weather.

For example, calling the school to find out if there’s a two-hour delay or it’s closed altogether is discouraged. Parents, for example, are notified by automated phone systems — so checking for messages is highly recommended. Tuning in to local radio stations, watching Erie televisions statements or checking the district website are also highly recommended.

Boots, hats, gloves and snow pants make spending time outdoors a warmer experience, while keeping a sweatshirt in a student’s book bag means that it’s readily available if the classroom is a bit chilly in the morning.

It’s also important to remember that weather is a valid excuse for staying home from school.

When school is back in session, “If we go forward with a full day or a delayed day and the parents feel otherwise — that it’s too cold or road conditions aren’t satisfactory — they can always keep children home,” Crawford Central Superintendent Charlie Heller said. “It’s an excused absence as long as they send a note.”

“We all live here,” Conneaut Superintendent Jarrin Sperry agreed. “We know what it’s like. You have to use your best judgment.”

It’s been colder

Extreme temperature data accumulated over a period of almost 80 years shows the Meadville-area temperature dipping to an all-time low of 23 below zero in January 1948. Near-record lows of minus 22 were reported in January 1994, February 1963 and February 1934, while a minus 19 was recorded in 1985. The most recent double-digit dip below zero — exactly minus 10 — was recorded in 2009, Hydrometeorological Technician Martin Thompson of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service in Cleveland told the Tribune Monday.

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at mspicer@meadvilletribune.com.

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