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Cold, drifting keep schools closed

Districts plan make-up days

Students dreading the return to class after a long winter break should thank Mother Nature for a chance to sleep in for at least one more day.

Local school officials announced Monday afternoon that classes would be canceled today as temperatures remained below zero and wind gusts continued to blow snow across roadways, making driving conditions dangerous.

Fort Wayne Community Schools, as well as Northwest, Southwest and East Allen County schools, were also closed Monday because of the weather.

Krista Stockman, FWCS spokeswoman, said the decision to cancel for a second day was made after considering both the frigid weather and the district’s ability to safely transport students to and from schools.

NACS Superintendent Chris Himsel said wind made it difficult to clear parking lots and drives Monday and led to significant drifting in the district’s rural areas, making it unsafe to drive.

“Like everybody else, we are simply going to need to be patient, as it will take time to move 12-plus inches of snow and the resulting drifts,” Himsel said.

As far as the rest of the week, districts remain hopeful that students can return to class.

“The forecast looks warmer from Wednesday on, so hopefully we can resume school this week,” EACS superintendent Ken Folks said.

To make up for missed time, all districts will be required to hold class on a make-up day or apply for a state waiver that would prevent them from having to make up the lost time.

The waiver applies to all public and non-public schools in Indiana that canceled Monday or Tuesday because of weather, according to Indiana Department of Education spokesman Daniel Altman.

FWCS and NACS students had been expected to return to class Monday after winter break.

FWCS students were scheduled to have Friday off but will now attend classes, officials said. The second make-up day will be May 9.

NACS students will make up Monday’s classes Feb. 24 and today’s classes March 14, officials said.

SACS and EACS students were not scheduled to return from winter break until today, so Monday’s weather will not affect the districts’ calendar.

The SACS calendar has two remaining snow make-up days available – Jan. 20 and Feb. 17 – and any days missed after that point will need to be made up in May, associate superintendent Phil Downs said.

EACS officials plan to apply for a waiver from the state for today’s missed day.