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School officials prepare for below-zero weather

Published: Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 3:41 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 6:06 p.m. CST

Students might get another day of vacation.

Students in the Sauk Valley are scheduled to return to school Monday after a 2-week vacation for the holidays. But with temperatures forecast to be well below zero all day, officials are considering whether they should cancel school.

For Monday, the National Weather Service predicts a high of minus 12 in Sterling and minus 14 in Dixon. 

Suellen Girard, superintendent of the Morrison schools, said her district considers the wind chill as well as the air temperature. Winds of 20 mph are expected Monday.

"We have closed school in the past if it's dangerously cold," she said. "I've emailed superintendents in the surrounding districts. We have already started the conversation."

Tad Everett, superintendent of the Sterling schools, said his district is closely monitoring the weather. The schools plan to announce any cancellation or delay in opening as early as Sunday evening; Everett encourages people to check the district's website.

"There is much more predictability with temperatures than there is with storms," Everett said. "I met with the board president about that this morning.”

The concern, he said, is that children walking to school or waiting at bus stops could get frostbite.

"Exposed skin can be frostbitten in a short time," he said. "They will be exposed to it if not properly attired."

Dixon Superintendent Michael Juenger said that if the forecast holds true, the district will cancel school Monday. He said he planned to send out an alert about that possibility in a message to parents Friday, but a final decision would be made Sunday.

"This one is a pretty easy decision," he said. "It'll be way too cold to have students waiting at bus stops."

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