ELYRIA – Elyria school district officials said roughly 29 percent of students across the district were absent Wednesday.
The speculation is that many parents decided to keep their school children home following two days of sub-zero temperatures and wicked wind chills.
Although temperatures hovered around 10 degrees with an even lower wind chill factor in the morning and several other districts in the county closed, classes resumed for Elyria students with teachers there to teach the students who did show up.
“When school is in session, instruction goes on regardless of how many students are in attendance,” said district spokeswoman Amy Higgins. “There is less than one week left in the second quarter grading period, and it is an important time for students to strengthen their grades or work with teachers to make improvements.”
All absences and weather-related tardies were excused for the day. Students will be allowed to make up missed work.
Elyria was not the only district to stay open. Avon, Avon Lake and Amherst schools all held classes in addition to Cleveland Schools in Cuyahoga County. Higgins said weather forecasts played a big part in the district’s decision. The most severe weather was set to move out by 9 a.m. and temperatures risen to the low 20s by afternoon.
“It was important for schools to be open for students who were able to attend,” Higgins said. “We certainly understand when a parent has a weather related or other concern that creates a hardship for getting their child to school and we respect their judgment in keeping them home.”
Nikki McDaniel, spokeswoman for First Student Transportation, which handles the busing needs in the district, said there were no issues starting the buses. All 52 buses started up and were available for the district’s 40 routes.
“We anticipated this and came in early to start the buses in addition to having drivers and mechanics start the buses every day this week,” she said.
While the district absentee rate was 29 percent overall, some schools saw higher percentages of absences.
At Franklin Elementary, 190 students were absent, about 46 percent of the school’s 412 students. At Oakwood Elementary, 135 students, or 39 percent, were absent.
In all 1,953 students were absent.
Higgins said on a typical day, elementary schools average 10 to 30 absences, the middle schools average 20 to 30 absences, and the high school averages about 150 absent students. The district has about 6,000 students.