"STMA will make an official decision on Sunday, January 26 which will mostly likely occur in the late afternoon or early evening," Behle said, looking ahead. "The safety of students and staff is the school district’s top priority."
Temperatures Sunday night are expected to plummet to more than 20 degrees below zero, with winds topping out at 15 to 20 miles per hour, putting wind chill effects at more than 40 degrees below zero.
National Weather Service advisories state skin can freeze in as little as 10 minutes if exposed to those conditions.
STMA was able to delay school two hours on Wednesday, Jan. 22 when temps that morning were near 20 below, but with lighter winds. Plus, Wednesday's high climbed to about 0 degrees. Monday, temps aren't expected to get above 10 below.
Here's the complete release from Behle and District 885:
First, I want to take a minute to say thank you for working collaboratively with STMA by adjusting your schedules when a decision is made to delay or close school. We know that this can create a hardship for you.
Like many of you, I've been watching weather predictions very closely for Monday, January 27 as frigid temperatures are expected to resurface on Sunday into Monday. I understand many in our community are wondering if schools will be open, and when they would get an official announcement if we close.
At STMA, keeping schools open and teaching students is important and we're hoping the weather conditions will allow us to stay in session. However, the safety of students and staff is the school district’s top priority. Predicting the weather is an inexact science at best; forecasts include estimates of high temperatures, low temperatures and wind conditions that are always changing. To make the best decision possible with the most accurate and current information available, STMA will make an official decision on Sunday, January 26 which will mostly likely occur in the late afternoon or early evening.
Closing and delaying criteria
As criteria, we will be looking at information provided by the National Weather Service (NWS) as predicted for early morning on Monday, January 27 and its wind chill guidelines for frostbite exposure. Currently the NWS predicts a high of -12 degrees for Monday and a low of -20 with wind of 20-23 miles per hour. More up-to-date forecasts will occur throughout the weekend. In addition, we will take into consideration the performance of buses and their ability to run dependably, the conditions of roads and chances for snow.
Because of STMA bus routing, we are able to delay school two hours. This opportunity is not available in many metro school districts. As a result, they must close when a two hour delay is possible for STMA. A two hour delay allows for improving weather temperatures and conditions and allows more time for the bus company to ensure all buses are operating.
If school is held on Monday, the district respects the decision of any parent who chooses to keep their children home because of cold weather. If that is the case with your family, please call the absence into the school office. The absence will be excused.
As always, the assumption should be that schools are open unless you hear differently. If schools are closed, our district will use phone, e-mail, district website, media and text notifications to inform families as we have in the past. Information will be on the district’s website and announcements made through media
As we head into the weekend, I hope knowing our plan helps parents prepare contingency plans, in the event we close. Once again, I thank you all for your patience and understanding as we all navigate the uncertainties of this historic weather season.