Pharos-Tribune

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January 14, 2014

School year could be extended after winter blast

Superintendents glad to be 'back in routine' after winter blast

Area schools returned to school Monday after an extended week of winter vacation. An extra week out of school is bad enough, frustrated superintendents said, but an extra week backed up against winter vacation is just too much.

The three-week gap is a long time to be out of school, said Cindy Douglass, Caston School Corp. superintendent.

“It’s hard to get them up to speed when they’re away from school for an extended time,” Douglass said. “We’ll do what we can to get them back in that school routine.”

Michelle Starkey, Logansport Community Schools superintendent, agreed the extended time off hinders students’ routines.

“We want kids back in their routine,” Starkey said. “After a few weeks off, their mindset and focus change.”

One superintendent said the extended break was similar to starting school after summer break.

Students were ready to come back, see their friends and get going for the next semester, said Trudie Hedrick, superintendent at Southeastern.

Although frustration was expressed, all agreed safety was the biggest concern.

Throughout the blast of winter last week, superintendents worked closely with street and highway departments daily to determine if road conditions were safe for student transportation.

After information is given, a decision is made for schools to be in session, on a two-hour delay or canceled, said Pioneer superintendent Dave Bess.

“Sure it was frustrating. We have a calendar and it’s our obligation to honor that calendar,” Bess said. “Sometimes Mother Nature and student’s safety gets the priority.”

Starkey said school officials spent a lot of time traveling around and talking to city and county street and highway officials to check the road conditions. After driving for two hours Wednesday and Thursday to see if student drivers and buses would be able to get around, it was clear that “there was just no way,” Starkey said.

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