Oak Park school districts announce second day of closings


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By Staff Archive

Oak Park schools will close for a second straight day on Tuesday Jan. 28, due to dangerous frigid temperatures, the districts announced Monday.

Districts 200 and 97 anounced the second day closings Monday afternoon. River Forest District 90 made the same announcement Monday. All school events and activities have been canceled at the three districts.

In advance of Monday's predicted below zero temperatures, school districts in Oak Park and surrounding western suburbs announced on Sunday that that their schools will be closed on Monday, a decision that's now been extended for a second day.

The three school districts have canceled all before and after school activities, including the Hephzibah program. The districts' administration offices will also remain closed over the next two days.

Fenwick High School also sent out announcements via email Sunday afternoon of its closing for Monday--the school will be closed Tuesday as well, officials there announced Monday. This is second time this month that Chicago area schools have closed due to dangerously cold weather. Schools throughout Cook County closed Jan. 6, and 7, as temperatures fell well below freezing.  

The Chicago Public Schools have also announced their closings for Monday and Tuesday. 

Oak Park and River Forest High School was not in session for students on Jan. 6, which was a faculty-only Institute Day. The latest closings and loss of hours this week will have a notable impact on OPRF since Wednesdays are late-arrival days for students.

Some of the districts have already adjusted their spring calenders to make up for the already missed days, including adding days to the end of the school year in June. No word has come yet from the districts concerning additional calender changes due to these latest closings.

Additional Coverage  

Schools look to make up lost days due to closings

Reader Comments

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OP Resident #762 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 28th, 2014 9:50 PM

@Word - touché. We probably have more in common than not, despite disagreement on the global warming point. Wouldn't be Oak Park if we agreed on every last detail.

OP Transplant  

Posted: January 28th, 2014 2:39 PM

Try to remember that generations of OP kids have walked the same streets, waited at the same bus stops, and sat in the same classrooms over decades of cold winters and hot summers. They were okay. Your kids will also be okay. Your kids can do anything their predecessors could do, unless someone teaches them they can't.


Posted: January 28th, 2014 12:28 PM

Dejordy - you want kids to walk a mile to school when it's -8 while you drive to work in your toasty car with the butt warmer? Not real consistent!

The Last Word from Oak Park   

Posted: January 28th, 2014 12:23 PM

#762...for the record, I do vaccinate my kids, do believe cigs cause cancer (though I smoke a Cuban now & then), believe we aren't alone in the universe; re: crop circles I have no opinion. I don't deny anything. What I am is a healthy skeptic, especially when billionaire ex-politicians are involved. When someone tells me the "science is decided" then makes $$$ selling "carbon offsets", yes, I'm skeptical. My 5th grade science teacher is proud that I became a cum laude biology major.

Oak Park CPA from Oak Park  

Posted: January 28th, 2014 8:21 AM

Another Parent, you are so correct. These comments are so Oak Park. By the way, our accounting office is open for business today. The IRS will not move April 15th back, as far as I have heard.

Another parent  

Posted: January 28th, 2014 7:49 AM

Gotta love how a basic story like keeping kids safe in bad weather can develop undertones of age bias, racism, anti-teacher bias, climate change denial, classism. Bravo.

OP Resident #762 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 28th, 2014 7:04 AM

@Last Word - I suppose you don't vaccinate your kids, believe in crop circles, UFO's, bigfoot, chem trails and that cigarettes don't cause cancer, right? It's all a conspiracy. Your 5th grade science teacher is crying somewhere right now. But we digress.

Teacher from Burbs  

Posted: January 28th, 2014 12:19 AM

Teachers don't close school, Superintendent 's do. They don't ask for our opinion so why bash us about a decision that is completely out of our control.


Posted: January 27th, 2014 11:20 PM

A classic example of how there is no such thing as a solution that works for all. But my thoughts are more with low income kids. On the one hand, frostbite and hypothermia are real threats in this weather and I'm sure there are kids (especially in Chicago) who do not have enough warm clothes to travel to school safely. But they may be the same kids whose parents must leave them to go to work and who depend on the school lunch. One more reminder of how fortunate many of us are.

The Last Word from Oak Park  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 10:23 PM

Here goes...the schools were closed in reality in deference to teachers & admin, not the students. Kids today (including mine) are indeed coddled, no matter their race. OMG lives in a McMansion...he/she protests too much. And Res # 762, here's a newsflash...the climate has always changed...by definition it does not stay the same. The extremes also have always been there. We're not that special, nor is our impact that substantial. Don't fall for the hoax...Peace, out!

OP Resident #762 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 6:51 PM

I'm fine with my kids going to school in the cold. They ride the bus so they're outside for a small amount of time but many kids walk. Fine for adults like Violet who know the limits and consequences of exposure but not for kindergarteners. Not every child in Oak Park can afford quality winter clothing. Closing is the right call, but D97 should start the school year 1-2 weeks earlier if they're going to close for cold temps. Climate change, both hot and cold extremes, is here to stay.


Posted: January 27th, 2014 6:35 PM

OPer from Oak Park: Please explain the issues out of village teachers would have had getting into work. I drove to my job at a suburb 20 miles away this morning, and the road was dry, conditions were clear, and temperature was about zero, cold, but hardly bizarre. And without school traffic, the commute was faster than usual. If there were a few teachers who could not get in, there is a substitute system in place. The excuses we make now are ridiculous


Posted: January 27th, 2014 6:31 PM

Good grief. Like many of the taxpayers in the private sector, I was driving to work this morning. On the street by the high school, which by 7 is usually lined with teachers' cars, nothing. It was 1 degree, clear, and without much wind. We close schools for this? At 4 pm it was not much worse. Oak Park is a compact, flat village. There were no issues of hazardous transportation.This is absurd.

Another parent  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 5:48 PM

Think about how much employment standards, classroom standards, science, medical knowledge have all improved in the last decades, too. Not to mention liability issues that didn't used to exist. There are plenty of things people used to do. "back in the day" that we now consider very, very stupid. Seatbelts, anyone? Closing school is the smart thing to do given the knowledge we have.

A. Parent  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 5:21 PM

I went to grade school in the mid to late 1950s, no snow days, walk to school, one fan per classroom in steamy June. The fact some of you overlook is that these are record low temps., never before events. School admins. are just looking out for the kiddos. If only in May and Sept. when temps. hit 90 degrees... I challenge anyone to sit in a third floor classroom at Lincoln School OP, in 90 degree heat for 6 hours and tell me it's character building.

OP Transplant  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 4:53 PM

Sorry, "Huh?" I don't mean to suggest that people of different cultures parent differently. And God forbid I should be the first person who ever suggested that rich white people coddle their kids. I sometimes forget to toe the politically correct OP line, but, in my defense, I'm not from here. Where I'm from, we're allowed to talk about these things.

Huh? from Oak Park   

Posted: January 27th, 2014 4:43 PM

Bringing race into it? That is Klassy with a capital K. Wow.

Heatstroke from OP  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 4:43 PM

I think kids sitting in 100+ - degree, 3rd-floor classrooms for 7 hours is far worse and riskier lawsuit-wise than shuttling them to/from school in a -30 below windchill. Especially when the $150k administrators are already in A/C and seeking to build a new admin HQ before each classroom has A/C.


Posted: January 27th, 2014 4:41 PM

I think for the schools it is not a matter of just getting kids from the car to the door. There are many who bus, and some teachers travel quite a distance. If everything runs smoothly, no problem, it's when a bus is delayed or breaks down, or traffic problems due to ice or whatever keep key people from making it to school, or, though unlikely, in the worst case a heating system fails that you now have a serious problem. None of that changes the fact that it's a hassle!

OP Transplant  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 4:40 PM

To OMG - I like your picture, and I think I know that guy. I come from a different perspective, though. I picture the "my child cannot be uncomfortable" parents as invariably white. I think that minority parents recognize that our children will need to be more resilient, and we perhaps coddle them less. If I had ever suggested to my mom that it was too cold or too hot to go to school, she'd still be laughing. When my own kids were younger, they used to joke about how "soft" white kids were.

OPer from Oak Park  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 4:40 PM

I always understood that it had more to do with the teachers getting to work than the students getting to the building, since the teachers are mostly coming from outside the villages - on one questionable day a few years ago, most of the kids made it to school just fine, but the teachers couldn't, and there was an unsafe amount of adult supervision for the number of kids in the building. A parent I know was asked to stay and "watch the classroom" as administration scrambled.

OP Transplant  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 4:27 PM

To K mom - You, clearly, do not love your child as much as OMG loves hers.

K mom  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 4:21 PM

I'm a D97 kindergartner parent, and I agree that these closures are a little much. I can manage dressing my child properly and getting him to school safely.

Oh my god  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 4:17 PM

I picture OPT and the other WJTGCs (Wednesday Journal Tough Guy Commentarianators) padding around their overwarmed mcmansions, barefoot shirtless and wearing madras shorts, sipping a Salty Dog, taking a break from writing a revolutionary rework of Atlas Shrugged that will wake sleepy Americans up once and for all from their tyrannical belief in global warming hucksterism, only to check his iPad and need to remind D97 kindergarteners they are soft, weak, and worthless.

OP Transplant  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 4:01 PM

To OMG - My comment was directed to Huh?, who was writing about temps in the 90's in the classrooms. I tried to make that clear by beginning my post "To Huh?" But, since you bring it up, generations of Oak Parkers have made their way to and from the same schools in the same climate and they, too, have survived. They were, perhaps, uncomfortable.

Huh? from Oak Park  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 3:01 PM

Oh My God, welcome to Oak Park! Clearly you are new to these here parts. Kids in Oak Park are supposed to suck it up and learn when the classrooms are 100+ degrees. Wed Journal commentors think we are raising the next generation of soft padded snowflakes. I find it ironic that D97 closes arbitrarily for cold but refuses to discuss the lack of AC in the classrooms. If it is all about money then I would like to see how much these closings are costing the district.


Posted: January 27th, 2014 3:01 PM

It was just announced that Dist. 97 will be closed on Tuesday too. In the email, they point out that frostbite could occur in 10 minutes in current weather, because the wind chill brings the temp to -40 F. Seems reasonable to close the schools.

Oh my god  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 2:54 PM

OPT you cannot be so dense! The schools are not closing because they can't heat the CLASSROOMS. They are closed because it is YES DANGEROUS for kids to walk to and from school in wind chills below 30 degrees. You "tough guys" bitched during the last cold snap (when the whole state of N. Dakota--you think they're not tough?-- also canceled school.) 15 people have died from cold in our county this year. Tell their families they were just "uncomfortable" and they should "toughen up"

OP Transplant  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 2:46 PM

To Huh? The point I would make is that kids have been going to classes in the very same buildings in the very same climate for generations. The were undoubtedly uncomfortable on some days, but they were not harmed by the experience. That seems to belie any claim the the temperatures in the classrooms are dangerous. I would never knowingly expose my children to danger, but I recognize that they will sometimes be uncomfortable.

Huh? from Oak Park  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 2:28 PM

As far as I know the buildings have equipment to deal with this particular extreme weather. The same cannot be said for temps above 90. Funny how that works.

Eskimo Pie from Joke Park  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 2:19 PM

What a perfect opportunity for the family to make a snowman together!

OP Transplant  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 2:19 PM

I think we've started to use the word "dangerous" when we mean "uncomfortable". The heat is "dangerous", the cold is "dangerous". Kids go to school in places that are colder, and in places that are hotter. Maybe a little resilience is in order.


Posted: January 27th, 2014 1:57 PM

There comes a point where school can't be held for safety reasons when the temperature is this extreme. Taxpayers don't want to be on the hook for lawsuits if something should happen due to the negligence of trying to hold classes. I'm with OP Resident that this sucks on both ends. Closed is the right call but we're pushing classes later and later into summer now. We know too much science these days about weather-related illness to ignore obvious dangers.


Posted: January 27th, 2014 1:49 PM

More like helicopter administrators. I think most of us parents would like the kids to be in school!

OPRFFB Letterman 1964 from River Forest  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 1:42 PM

Back in the day we went to school, no matter what the weather. The new "helicopter" parents will not permit their children to endure any hardships. Therefore, school in cold weather is out of the question!! I am happy to be approaching the 15th hole in life. If these children are our future, than I am very happy I will not be around to be part of that future. Peace out.


Posted: January 27th, 2014 1:13 PM

LOL. My apologies for the typo.

Violet Aura from The Arctic RF  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 1:07 PM



Posted: January 27th, 2014 12:59 PM

If you feel that school should be open today, be sure to tell our administrators that you feel that way. Apparently they catch a lot of flack from certain parents when they *don't* close schools, so let's be sure they also hear from the other side.

Huh? from Oak Park   

Posted: January 27th, 2014 12:41 PM

This is ridiculous. These are the same administrators that think moving 600-700 kids through an air conditioned auditorium for an hour a day is relief from 100F classrooms in May, June and September. They are so inconsistent and illogical.

OP Transplant  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 12:18 PM

Not sure what's behind the cold-weather school closings. I've lived in the Midwest most of my life, and I've seen plenty of snow days, but these are my first "temperature days." Last time, I happened to drive down Lake Street, so I can say with certainty that "too cold to go to school" is not the same thing as "too cold to hang out and go to the movies."

Violet Aura from Reefer Forest near Coke Park  

Posted: January 27th, 2014 12:10 PM

@OP Resident: Oh noes!!! It's zero right now! How ever did I walk to get coffee and groceries on foot? Um..it's called DEALING. WITH. IT. So what did you do then? If the schools were closed, there was no free babysitter for the day.


Posted: January 27th, 2014 9:12 AM

Tomorrow is suppose to be worse then today! Those parents that complain about the schools being closed are those same parents that would be complaining if they were not closed, That is what most Oak Parkers do best....complain complain complain!

OP Resident #762 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 26th, 2014 9:41 PM

Don't you think we'd rather take a nice spring, summer or fall day off to spend with our wonderful kids than a subzero day in February when we can't even leave the house, Violet? Kids don't want to be locked down inside for the next two days. They want to play outside or with their friends at school. Oh, most parents have these little things called jobs. It's the right call to close the schools but it sucks for everyone involved and will suck more when kids are still in school in mid-June.

Violet Aura from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: January 26th, 2014 7:28 PM

@Really: Sorry. You'll have to actually spend TIME with your kids. Try not to gag :/


Posted: January 26th, 2014 6:41 PM

@Really, really - I just checked your source and added this one: http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/chicago-il/60608/daily-weather-forecast/348308?day=2 Translated: I stand corrected.

Really, really?  

Posted: January 26th, 2014 6:05 PM

Weather.com, Really? Come on, you can do better! Tom Skilling's headline is "dangerously cold." Windchills to -45 with frostbite in approx 10 min. Can't let kids wait for the bus in that.


Posted: January 26th, 2014 5:43 PM

I just checked the hourly weather forecast for tomorrow: http://www.weather.com/weather/hourbyhour/graph/Oak+Park IL 60304:4:US?pagenum=2&nextbeginIndex=6 It is certainly "cold," but barely below zero is hardly a threshold which, historically, has led to school closings in OP and no where near as cold as earlier this month. Snow issues? Nope. Is there any historical record of frozen/frost-bitten/hospitalized kids in OP during below zero weather? What's next? Close in Spring if temps exceed 92?

Chris from OP  

Posted: January 26th, 2014 5:04 PM

OPRF too, per their website.

Bill D  

Posted: January 26th, 2014 2:16 PM

That's three make up days. Hope the weather improves in OP and RF, or kids are going to have a lot of make up days.

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