Two words – polar vortex. Definition – a low pressure area with a wide expanse of cold air, in a polar region.
It doesn’t sound pretty and it sure wasn’t pretty. With snow, ice and bone chilling temperatures it had schools cancelling day after day, and even put Michigan into a state of emergency. With nine days off, it affected teaching and learning.
“You want to have consistency. When you get into an inconsistent pattern, people get tired.” principal Bart Wegenke said about the challenges of having multiple days off.
“The other thing is the whole mindset piece,” Wegenke said. “We came out of the holiday break gearing up for final exams, then off for Martin Luther King and four more days, it all goes back to the struggle of inconsistency.”
The polar vortex brought some of the coldest weather Michigan has had in a long time. Going outside for 10-15 minutes could have led to frostbite.
“This is a unique year this year because you don’t often get in the same days off lots of snow and really cold weather. It’s either one or the other.” Wegenke said. “And it normally only bumps out for one to two days tops.”
Michigan schools get six snow days per year. The district of Haslett has used three more than granted.
“We can ask for a waiver for three additional days,” Wegenke said, “and what we’re hearing right now is that Governer (Gretchen) Whitmer is going to allow for that.”
It’s time for students to stop flushing ice cubes down the toilet and putting spoons under pillows so we don’t have to add on to the school day or year.
“Abnormal year for sure.” Wegenke said.