Evanston schools close due to extreme cold


File photo by Colin Boyle

A bus travels in the snow. Evanston/Skokie School District 65 cancelled school for Wednesday and Thursday.

Catherine Henderson, City Editor

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 and Evanston Township High School/District 202 announced that schools will close Wednesday and Thursday due to extremely low temperatures.

The U.S. National Weather Service predicts temperatures will reach below negative 20 degrees, with wind chills of 30 to 50 below zero, warning of “extreme excessive cold risk” from Tuesday to Thursday. The announcement followed other schools from around the area, including Chicago Public Schools and Northwestern.

At a school board meeting Monday, District 65 Superintendent Paul Goren said his priority was keeping schools open, given the importance of childcare for working parents with young children. However, he said he would consider temperatures, snow accumulation, driving conditions and heating in school buildings in his decision.

On Tuesday, the district made the decision to cancel school.

“We recognize that cancelling schools can present a number of challenges and hope that making this announcement early will allow you to plan accordingly,” a message on the District 65 website said. “Stay warm and safe over these next couple of days.”

The message directed parents to the City of Evanston website for details about warming centers across the city also available for childcare, including the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center at 1655 Foster St. and the Levy Senior Center at 300 Dodge Ave.

In an announcement on the ETHS website, administrators said that though school is canceled Thursday, after-school activities will still occur. Safety staff for the building will also come in on Wednesday and Thursday to maintain the building, but all other students, teachers and administrators are instructed to stay home.

The city also encouraged people to stay indoors and check on elderly neighbors. The city’s website lists tips for bundling up outdoors, heating homes, staying safe on the road and preventing pipes from freezing.

City manager Wally Bobkiewicz said Evanston provided family drop-in centers to support the district and parents.

“For some families, they have no alternative,” Bobkiewicz said. “Providing a safe place for students to go is really important.”

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