Who is closed, remote learning
While some some schools decided to go to remote learning, other districts declared Tuesday a snow day with an almost puckish enthusiasm.
“Enjoy your day off tomorrow! This is great binge-watching weather,” Jacksonville school superintendent Steve Ptacek wrote in a social media post Monday.
“Tuesday will be a snow day (No School For Students). Williamsville sledding hills will be open,” countered Williamsville-Sherman superintendent Tip Reedy.
With lingering snow, deteriorating travel conditions and single-digit temperatures, many districts made the decision early Monday to close or go to remote learning on Tuesday. Many school districts were off school Monday for Presidents Day.
Springfield District 186, Ball-Chatham and Rochester districts all opted to go remote Tuesday. The University of Illinois Springfield and Lincoln Land Community College, both for a second straight day, called off in-ground or in-person classes while going remote.
Reedy said it would have been a challenge for teachers to get the material out to students on such short notice, so he chose to make Tuesday a snow day.
Only about a quarter of the district’s students are in full remote learning, he said. The rest of the students attend classes four days a week.
“One of the things I joked with the school board,” Reedy said, “is that I don’t ever want to relinquish the ability to be the most hated man or the most loved man in the world in making this decision (about a snow day).”
Schools weren’t the only ones making the decision to close. The Central Illinois Foodbank and Springfield Urban League’s Head Start program were also closed Tuesday as were Christian County and Menard County courthouses.
Sangamon Mass Transit District delayed the start of operations until 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Gov. JB Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation Tuesday for all 102 counties in response to the storm that blanketed the state.
Extreme weather has resulted in frozen wells in natural gas producing states, including Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. The sub-zero temperatures are resulting in increased demand and decreased supply, causing natural gas prices to spike.
Utility companies across the nation are reporting soaring wholesale costs, and without federal intervention, those increased prices could result in higher utility bills for Illinois residents in the coming weeks.
“I have directed my administration to use all resources at our disposal to keep our communities safe amid dangerous and ongoing winter weather,” Pritzker said. “We are in communication with local governments to ensure they have the support they need in disaster response and recovery operations. We are also working with our federal partners to pursue federal assistance to help communities recover and to do what we can to protect ratepayers from soaring utility bills.”
That prompted one area school district to call off classes for the rest of the week.
Auburn superintendent Darren Root said he was advised to reduce the natural gas usage in the buildings to just enough so pipes don’t freeze.
“This is due to the incredible gas price hike and potential penalties that could be incurred this week,” Root said on the school’s website.
Portions of the buildings are heated with electricity and may not be so cold, so that may not impact extracurricular activities, he said.
The three days are “emergency days” that are already built into the school calendar.
Meanwhile, a snow emergency remains on in the city of Springfield through 7 a.m. Friday. The declaration means the public is required to remove cars parked along snow emergency routes so Public Works crews can more efficiently remove snow.
Sangamon County officials lifted a Level 2 winter weather emergency on Tuesday.
The villages of Southern View and Jerome also declared snow emergencies through 7 a.m. Friday, while the city of Jacksonville was under a snow emergency until at least Wednesday.
Dustin Brown of the Riverton-based Brown Storm Service, which does snow removal, said he and his crews encountered four-to-five-foot drifts of snow, even in Springfield.
Brown and more than a dozen other workers had been out plowing around the clock since 4 a.m. Monday, when reached Tuesday afternoon.
“Definitely within the last four or five years, it’s one of the bigger events that we’ve had,” Brown said. “But we got through it.”
Likewise, Bob Freitag and his crew of eight workers from Mr. Frosty Snow Removal in Springfield had been at it since Monday.
“It’s fantastic,” said Freitag, while plowing on a lot in Chatham . “We love it.”
How much snow did Springfield and Lincoln get?
According to the National Weather Service in Lincoln, trained observers measured 5.8 inches of snow in Springfield as of 11:40 p.m. Monday.
In Lincoln, there was a 5.4-inch accumulation. To the south of Springfield, there were higher snow totals, like 8 inches in Pana.
“It seemed like the heaviest snow totals were either south of Interstate 70 or east of Interstate 57,” said Alex Erwin, a meteorologist for the NWS Tuesday.
Low temperatures for the Springfield were expected to remain in the single digits through the overnight Friday.
There is another system that could mean more precipitation in the area for Wednesday.
Erwin said any accumulation would be around “an inch or less.”
The area could see a warming trend by the early part of next week, with temperatures breaking freezing on Sunday and a high of 40 is predicted on Monday.
And, yes, Reedy was hoping to do some sledding later Tuesday — after preparing for a board meeting.
“There’s a hill at Williamsville Lake Dam that everybody (goes) down,” he said. “I may head out there.”
Contact Steven Spearie: 622-1788, [email protected], twitter.com/@StevenSpearie.
If you are heading out sledding, remember:
- Protect skin from exposure by wearing hats, gloves and scarves.
- Children and adults can suffer initial stages of frostbite even in above-freezing temperatures depending on wind variants and how wet clothing is.
- In colder temperatures, around zero, it takes only 30 minutes or so for exposed skin to get frostbite
Here are some tips to conserve energy:
- Stay indoors in a heated room as much as possible
- If you have no heat, close doors and vents in unused rooms and shut the doors
- Avoid using large appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, or dryers
- Reverse your ceiling fan to turn clockwise, producing an updraft that will move the warm air that collects near your ceiling down to the rest of the room
- If using alternative heat from a fireplace, wood stove or space heater, use safeguards and ensure proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.