Extreme polar vortex forces school cancellations


Masah Mourad

The dramatic temperature drop caused District 86 to cancel school Monday Jan. 28, Wednesday Jan. 30 , and Thursday Jan. 31.

This past week has been one of the coldest weeks in Chicago history. The weather reached -52 degrees on Wednesday, Jan. 30. In order to stay safe, students are advised to wear multiple layers and stay behind closed doors as much as possible.

District D86, along with more than 60 other schools decided to cancel Wednesday, Jan. 30 and Thursday, Jan. 31 due to the threatening weather conditions. However, these weren’t the only days that were taken off this week. Earlier, schools also decided to close school on Monday, Jan. 28 because of the extreme snow and alarming road circumstances. Weather temperatures were so low, that most midwestern colleges and universities decided to cancel Wednesday and Thursday as well. 

“[Snow days are] useful if you have tons of homework you need to catch up on, but they are a hassle because then you have to make up those days on days you’d traditionally be off which isn’t all that fun,” said Aman Natt, senior.

The reason behind school closing is because of the extreme danger that students can be put through when they try to get to school, by either riding the bus, driving or having their parents drop them off. It puts everyone on the road at risk because of the possibility of catching hypothermia or getting frostbite. 

According to NBC Chicago, someone could fall victim to frostbite in as little as 10 minutes when wind chills drop to -20 degrees. 

“I think [snow days] are all right. I like being able to wake up at a decent time and work on personal projects,” said Sophia Garza, senior. “Plus, I get to chill with my cat most of the time. Not having something to do drives me a little crazy though.”

Masah Mourad
After dropping for two days to negative temperatures, the weather quickly warmed up by the end of the weekend.

There were announcements made via social media to call shelters using 311 if anyone saw people on the streets without homes, in order to get them to a safe environment. Chicago’s largest homeless shelter accepted 800 people into their shelter on Tuesday night, Jan. 28. The shelter only had 750 beds, but they successfully added 500 more beds for those that didn’t have a bed to sleep on.

“From a safety perspective, snow days are a lifesaver, literally and metaphorically. Parents won’t have to worry about driving their kids in awful conditions, and they also won’t have to worry about their kids with licenses driving to school alone when the street is covered in ice and snow,” said Makiz Salehzai, senior.

While the upcoming weather will include ice storms and wind,  teachers and students can expect temperatures to increase this upcoming week, and with the high even climbing to 50 degrees on Monday, Feb. 4.

The school is still unsure just exactly when they are going make up the three days they canceled. UPDATE: The days will be made up during the emergency week in June.