Dear Maharishi School Community,
How cold is it?
I’ll spare you the lame jokes. But the prediction for temperatures next Tuesday-Thursday is no laughing matter. If it holds true, they will be the coldest consecutive days in my 30+ years as a school administrator.
The question is, what will we do about it? Will there be school those days if the windchill is far below zero?
Of course, schools all over Iowa will be faced with the same decision. I’ve been in contact with the superintendents of nearby school districts and other independent schools in the Midwest. Their policies vary widely, from a fixed policy of a windchill temperature of -18 to nearly -40 degrees for delaying or canceling school…to flexible policies depending on specific conditions that day.
Like them, our Maharishi School administrative team is up early checking conditions on inclement weather days. Twice last week Terry Weiss was on the roads at 4:30 am. By 6 am we are checking all the weather sources (weather.gov, weather.com, accuweather.com), texting or calling each other, and consulting with other schools’ decisions.
Public schools have bus routes to consider, with students standing outside waiting for pick-up. Maharishi School is different. Most of you live in or near Fairfield. We do have some families several miles outside of town, but they are driving in, not waiting for a bus.
When the situation is purely cold and wind, we consult the accuweather.com “RealFeel” wind chill ratings. You can compare these to the National Weather Service Wind Chill Chart: https://www.weather.gov/
The danger is exposed skin for prolonged periods of time. Most of our students, faculty, and staff have a relatively short exposure–walking from their cars to the buildings. That should be possible for short times, less than 10 minutes in severe cold. But we always strongly recommend wearing protective clothing: warm hats, gloves, boots, and even face coverings.
It’s hard–maybe impossible–to make a decision that is right for everyone. Parents told us this week what a hardship it was to have school delayed or canceled, forcing them to cancel appointments with clients, and jeopardizing their business. Others want school delayed or closed whenever the temperature approaches those low levels. We hear you all, and we are doing our best.
As the Iowa City Community School District states, “The District must make one decision that is appropriate for [all] students. We recognize that this decision may not always fit with individual circumstances. Therefore, we support parents/guardians making the best decision for their family. Parents/guardians may choose to keep their children at home if they are concerned about their child’s safety due to weather conditions. In this event, they must notify the school and the absence will be recorded as excused.”
Maharishi School holds to that same policy. Safety first, as decided by your family. But we hope to stay open as much as possible. We built two extra days into our schedule. Those have already occurred. Any additional full days closed will require make-up days later in the year.
So these are the factors that go into our decision making. We’ve decided on a hybrid for this year:
* The Children’s House will close when wind chills are expected to reach -20. This will be confirmed shortly after 6:00 am.
* The rest of the School will consider the overall conditions and announce the decision shortly after 6 am.
Please check your preferred source for our school status (our website, emails, Facebook, exploreseiowa.com, or KMCD radio). Please ensure that your child has adequate winter clothing. And please know that we are doing our best to find the right decision for our entire school community.
Dr. Beall and Maharishi School Administration
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