Bitter cold forces schools to decide whether to delay start

Some parents face issues when school is canceled due to weather. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Dangerous temperatures have forced school districts to make a decision: send the kids to school as scheduled, cancel or delay classes.

Medical experts say 30 minutes is enough time for frostbite on exposed skin in some of the frigid morning temperatures in Indianapolis this week.

Two school districts — Westfield Washington in Hamilton County and Monroe Central in Randolph County — had decided to cancel Wednesday classes by 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Indianapolis Public Schools canceled school Tuesday, and dozens of other schools across the state are hoping to return from winter break this week. Greenwood dad Kevin Tolle is hoping his kids can go back Thursday as planned.

“It’s a dangerous temperature,” Tolle said. “Any time they delay school, it can be a little bit of an inconvenience for parents aligning with the work schedules.”

The Tolle kids are in the Center Grove school system. Neighboring Greenwood Community School Corp. is scheduled to resume Wednesday.

Greenwood Superintendent Kent DeKoninck started his homework Tuesday. He sat in his office, comparing the forecast with a National Weather Service guide on when frostbite can occur.

“I guess we’re in the thick of winter,” DeKoninck said. “We’ll be getting up early and a lot of sleepless nights.”

DeKoninck said he’ll wake up around 4 a.m. Wednesday to assure the buses are running properly.

He’ll join a conference call with local superintendents around 5 p.m. before deciding whether to delay school. He’s expecting to start on time Wednesday and will decide Thursday’s plan early that morning.

“We really try to make those decisions as late as possible because we want to have the most accurate weather as possible,” DeKoninck said.

If Greenwood’s break had ended Tuesday, DeKoninck said he’d have delayed the start time.

An IPS spokesperson said the district canceled school Tuesday “in the best interests of our students and staff to keep them safe and warm.”

IPS has not said whether they’ll delay school Wednesday or Thursday.

Perry Township and Franklin Township both said they’re keeping a close watch on the forecast to make the best decision.

WISH-TV’s “Daybreak” team will be reporting any updates beginning at 4 a.m. School districts also announce their closings on a webpage at wishtv.com.