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School chief: district 'made history' with closure : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
School chief: district 'made history' with closure
No one wanted schools open when temps plummeted Jan. 6, 7

by Lyle R. Rolfe


"I'm either young enough or inexperienced enough to never have lived through a minus 45 degree below zero wind chill," Oswego School District Superintendent Dr. Matthew Wendt told school district board members Monday night.
Wendt said that during the past 16 years he had canceled school before due to inclement weather.
"But I want the board to know that I received zero emails indicating that we should be open," he said, referring to the cancellation of a teachers faculty day event on Monday, Jan. 6, and the first day of classes on Tuesday, Jan. 7.
"I've never had that occur before. There's always someone that thought there should be school, so I guess we made history in more than one way," he said.
The cancellations were done on the basis of weather forecasts that there would be below zero temperatures accompanied by up to minus 45 degree below zero wind chills that can cause frostbite within minutes on unprotected skin.
Wendt said school district employees always do an excellent job.
"But on days like Tuesday, Jan. 7, and Wednesday, Jan. 8, it is our transportation employees, and our maintenance and buildings and grounds employees that stand out over and above anything the superintendent does. I commend these folks because out in those conditions, that warranted the closing of school, we had to be prepared to open buildings Wednesday morning," he said.
"We also had to be prepared with buses. The first bus leaves the lot at about 5:30 in the morning. And that doesn't occur without being prepared," he said, noting that more than 13,000 of the district's more than 17,000 students ride buses.
He said crews were working Tuesday afternoon to remove snow packed on the sides of buses like he had never seen before.
"Employees were out at 3 a.m. Wednesday preparing buses and starting them at 4 a.m. And that is why we were able to have school on Wednesday," he said.
Wendt said some districts in the Chicago area did not have school because of issues that Oswego School District crews addressed.
"We had great people doing great things, and I want to commend you publicly. I want the board to know how fortunate we are," he added.
He said students will have school on Friday, May 23, to make up for the missed day Jan. 7.
The faculty day will be made up later, he said. The building and faculty work sessions will be held sometime after Memorial Day weekend.
Wendt said his previously scheduled "State of the District" address will be presented in the near future. He said this address includes material that needs to be presented to the staff and the community.

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