How Cold Is Too Cold For School?


Students across KELOLAND are waking up to frigid temperatures again this morning. 

According to Sioux Falls School District Superintendent Brian Maher, the district gets more days off of school due to the cold than the snow. But there’s a strategy before making the ‘no school’ call. 

The playground is quiet at Laura Wilder Elementary School. 

That’s because recess is indoors. 

“It felt like before Christmas break there wasn’t a whole lot, and now we’re just on a streak,” third-grade teacher Rachel Court said. 

This has been the norm for Court and other staff battling the below zero temperatures. 

“It’s a lot of time for them to be indoors and not being able to move their bodies quite as much and freely. But they’ve been really great about it and everyone’s been positive,” Court said. 

Any time wind chill or temperatures dip below zero, recess is held inside. 

Maher says there’s been days where he’s gotten close to cancelling school all together due to wind chill. 

“-34 degrees will cancel us, -30 degrees may cancel us depending upon the wind,” Maher said. 

Maher says looking out for the youngest of learners is very important because they might not understand the dangerous conditions.

“What does it mean for next week and so forth? I don’t know. It’s supposed to be 40 degrees by the end of the week this week. So I wish I knew that. But in South Dakota and in the Midwest in general, we’ll just kind of take it day by day and see what that brings,” Maher said. 

For Court and her students, they’re just making the best of it.

“It’s fun to build relationships with them playing board games and some of those other fun activities that we don’t usually get to do,” Court said. “But at the same token it’s nice to go outside, too, and get other things done as well. It definitely makes you appreciate the nice days when they come along.”

Maher says cancellations due to the cold will happen the night before school rather than snow day cancellations that often happen day of.

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