Extreme wind chills bring bus stop hazards

Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 4:08 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The latest round of winter storms won’t bring nearly the amount of snow that South Dakota saw last week. But what area school districts are more concerned about are the dangerous wind chills it’s expected to bring with it.

School districts in southeastern South Dakota are already calling off classes due to the expected wind chills. Those districts include Tea Area and West Central, electing instead to either switch to virtual learning days or go to winter break early. The Sioux Falls School District is already done with classes this calendar year on Wednesday, but the snow and cold temperatures the past couple of weeks have made it tough on students and staff.

“Other than the one day on the Friday. That day there, there was just too much snow accumulation over the previous week’s time, and then you accompany with the wind that was at point in time.” SFSD Assistant Superintendent Jamie Nold said.

Nold said deciding when to cancel school and classes is easier to judge when it’s the wind chills to worry about, rather than snow. He sids while the district will be out after Wednesday for it’s winter break, they’d seriously consider calling off classes Thursday if they had them. Though that doesn’t mean it’s safe for students to be waiting for long outside.

“Temperature is probably the easier one for us to be able to predict, look at, and make a call on. That one there, we look at that 35 degrees below with the wind chill. That’s the number where it goes into that warning phase. So we do cancel school and classes when it does hit that, and that’s a little bit more of a hardline,” Nold said. “Some of the wind chills does get down into that 17 to 18 below. Which is serious, no questions about that. We want families to make sure that they have their children dressed appropriately.”

The district takes into consideration their youngest students the most, as they more often have to wait for buses.

“We look at our elementary kids, because we know that they’re going to the bus stops. In the morning is probably the more critical time, because they may have to wait a little bit of time.” Nold said.