Bitter temperatures result no in-person classes for Tuesday, Jan. 16

A lone vehicle makes its way south over packed ice and snow on state Route 26 between Forreston and Polo on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024 as temperatures remained below zero throughout the day.

The Martin Luther King holiday will be a bit longer thanks to the weather – well sort of.

Oregon School District officials announced late Monday afternoon that due to the extreme cold continuing throughout the day on Tuesday students would have a remote learning day for Wednesday, Jan. 16.

On Friday, Jan. 12, all Ogle County school districts opted for either a remote learning day or a snow day when a winter storm warning was forecast for the region.

That storm delivered 10-12 inches of snow and on Saturday and Sunday, brisk winds arrived causing drifting snow and the cancellation of athletic and other extracurricular events. And that weather pattern was followed by sub-zero temperatures that produced lows of -14 at night and highs of -3 on Sunday.

On Monday, sub-zero temperatures continued causing the cancellation of a girls basketball tournament at Byron High School, the rescheduling of the boys bowling regional to Wednesday and the postponement of the Big Northern Conference Music Festival.

Late Monday afternoon, Polo school officials posted this statement on their website: “Due to the Windchill Warning and dangerously low temperatures, the Polo Community Unit School District #222 will have an E-Learning Day on Tuesday, Jan. 16. Based upon the warning ending at noon and changing to an advisory, activities are still tentatively planned.”

Forrestville Valley posted on its website that all classes were cancelled.

Byron School Superintendent Buster Barton posted this statement on the district’s website: “Dear Byron Families, Due to the dangerously cold weather, the Byron School District will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 16. All activities scheduled for the day will also be cancelled. Stay warm and stay safe.”

And Meridian School District Assistant Superintendent Joe Mullikin posted this message to parents: “Good evening. Tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 16, Meridian CUSD 223 schools will not be physically in session due to dangerously low wind chill forecasts. We will have a remote learning day, similar to this past week.

“Over the weekend and throughout the day today, our leadership team has been in contact, checking buildings, running buses, and communicating with local school districts and road commissioners. Anytime we see a windchill below -20, we are on high alert, and when it begins to dip below -25 to -30, we begin discussions of closing.

“Tomorrow there are projections of between -33 and -38 during pickup in the AM and remain there through noon. This means frostbite could occur in a matter of minutes. Athletic competitions (girls’ basketball and scholastic bowl) are still planned to go unless temperatures or weather deteriorate. Optional practices may still be held on an individual sport basis.

“Please contact coaches or our Athletic Director, Mr. Henry Robison, for more information. I know that this is not ideal, but I believe it is in the best interest of our students and staff’s safety.”

Earleen Hinton

Earleen Hinton

Earleen creates content and oversees production of 8 community weeklies. She has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.