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Burlington School District’s decision creates ruckus

Nearly 150 schools canceled class in the Quad City Area Monday, but not the Burlington School District. The decision to keep Burlington Schools open caused unrest for several parents.

“It’s a no win situation,” said Burlington School District’s Superintendent Jane Evans. “No matter what we decide, somebody will be unhappy about it.”

Prior to last week, the Burlington School District did not have an official guideline to follow in regards to closing school due to the cold. But because the arctic temperatures have wrapped around the Midwest, a new policy had to be put in place.

“We agreed that the range from minus 25 to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit would be something that would cause us to delay or cancel class,” Evans said.

But parents took to the school’s Facebook page to show they disagree. One of those parents is Joann Thomason.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous they had class today,” Thomason exclaimed.

Thomason added she is concerned with kids who have to walk to school.

But Superintendent Evans ensured that if parents didn’t feel comfortable sending their kids to school when it’s that cold, they didn’t have to.

“If they call the school and let us know they can get an excused absence,” Evans said.

And for the days ahead, Burlington will be keeping a close watch on the weather.

11 comments

  • chirs

    i dont see the big deal. when i was going to school back in the 80’s and 90’s i can remeber when it got this cold and still had school. there was only one day they cancelled due to cold and it was when we had a wind chill of -70 dergees. i think everyone has gotten use to the idea of us having 40 degree weather and no snow and has forgot that this is winter. so deal with it.

  • Darven

    A gross omission to your story WQAD is that Burlington was one of MANY school districts in SE Iowa to have school today. West Burlington, Danville, Mediapolis, New London, Ft. Madison, Mt. Pleasant, and Keokuk ALL had classes today. Additionally, not one parent made the effort to attend tonight’s school board meeting. I expect better reporting from WQAD.

    • pam h

      I have been to your board meetings. I did not attend because it is moot to argue or debate the issue. You guys will do what you want and how you want no matter what anyone thinks. Yes, we do live in Iowa and winter is cold but when we have children walking to school with clothing not made for warmth and everyone is only concerned with kids going to school in the summer. Maybe there should be a better plan of action. And why wait until the very last minute to decide. I am adult enough to understand you can’t make everyone happy but when you have minimum school days (no extra days) and strict attendance guidelines, then you say it is ok to stay home because the parent thinks it is too cold, then who determines whether it is too cold or not to be an excusable absence?
      And maybe parents couldn’t make it to the meeting because it was so cold and they have to work second or third shift or they couldn’t find a babysitter to come out in the cold. Does anyone ever think of anyone but themselves?

  • Dan Shaw

    When we called this morning, we where told by jane Evans that it would not be an excused absence. She then had her phone turned to a voicemail that was not set up to take messages. Funny that last week records where broke..on the low end. Sometimes its just not worth getting a child a cold weather injury. Chris..I can also remember riding around with no seat belt on, walking to the gas station to buy my mom a pack of smokes and a beer back then.

    • Renee Godsey

      I agree with you Dan. Its not just cold Chris, its dangerously cold. So let
      Our children risks hypothermia, frostbite, and bad colds? Then they WILL miss school and a parent will miss work to take care of them. Im pretty sure the majority of parents will understand they have to make those days up Krystal.

  • krystal wright

    Seriously they complain school isn’t cancelled, however, schools further north were delayed but still had class. They will be complaining again when they have to make up all of these days in the summer. They can’t make everyone happy and just have to go with what they feel is best.

  • Chris O

    Yeah keep them home so that they grow up knowing every time it’s cold they can just stay home. This works well in the real world when you have jobs and have to deal with mother nature. They won’t be employed and will still be living with you when they are adults. It’s Iowa folks. It gets cold sometimes…and hot…and rainy…etc.

    • pam h

      Chris O,
      when you are an adult you are more aware of the dangers and can take precautions. The work ethic comes from the environment. And frostbite is a medical issue that arises from the severe cold.

  • joyce

    Evans needs to be on board with the article. Because the article is a fair compromise. If you don’t want to send your kid to school then you don’t have to. Not everybody has to agree with it. Even if its unexcused what’s gonna really happen? If anybody asks then you tell them your view didn’t match the schools. Plus you can prove with the article that it should have been excused. I survived the freezing weather growing up. I didn’t get sick all the time or hypothermia. Let’s not be so critical over such a small thing. I for one don’t want my kid in school in June.

  • Nina Kelly

    If I would’ve been in school still and they did that, I would’ve stayed home. Kids with Asthma and other things are at high risk of getting pneumonia. Grant it, I hated going to school in the Summer time, but if it gets to the point of risking pneumonia I would’ve rather dealt with going to school in the Summer.

  • pam h

    Yeah, you can keep your child home if you feel it is too cold. BUT when frostbite can happen in 30 minutes or less it becomes a safety issue. What if the furnace went out or the water pipes break from the cold, then what?
    You have to consider the kids whose parents aren’t at home when they leave for school (or don’t care) and don’t dress properly because they don’t understand the danger of the cold. For those who say they made it growing up, did you really walk to school everyday? and for what distance?
    When I was a kid, the country kids didn’t have to come to school on bad weather days and it really made me angry that they got a day off from school and I had to get there in the cold. How much learning is accomplished when you are trying to warm up. The schools keep the temps down in the buildings now and the kids have to bring jackets for warmth.

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