OREGON, OH (WTOL) - Several of the Big 11 school districts head back to the classroom on Wednesday after their winter break. That includes Oregon City Schools.
They're under a two-hour delay because of the bitter cold expected. Making that call is all about safety for superintendents.
With temperatures in the single digits, Oregon City Schools Superintendent Hal Gregory decided they would head back to school from break on a two-hour delay.
"We decided early to let our parents and families know how to plan for the morning especially when you can anticipate based on the weather reports that we received for the last couple of days," said Hal Gregory, Oregon City Schools superintendent.
While he said it's a tough decision, it's about keeping their close to 4,000 students safe. On a typical day they make an initial call by 6:00 a.m. and if they are on a delay they declare a closing by 8:00 a.m. or will be in school.
Gregory said snow days are easier to judge because you can see it, while cold days are harder to determine.
"Cold could be a temperature, but cold is worse with wind chill factors so we kind of use the basic guidelines," explained Gregory. "If there is a wind chill -15 or more then we are going to delay or close and we use double digit regular temperatures as the guideline so if it's 10 or below regular temperature."
Parents of students in Oregon schools said they're glad that the district delays and cancels during conditions this cold. They said they don't want their kids waiting for the bus or even walking to school in these low temperatures. Superintendents said that plays a role.
"In districts a big piece is the students who walk," said superintendent Gregory. "You look at the larger more urban districts where kids are walking all the time that plays into it dramatically."
Gregory said as of now, they will go to school after the delay on Wednesday because temperatures are expected to rise, but he said the days that follow, those are still uncertain.
Wednesday's two-hour delay isn't only helpful for students, parents and teachers, but also for the staff who prepare the building and buses for kids.
These cold temperatures can cause a school's heating system to act up forcing extra work.
With weather like we've seen the past week, school officials in Oregon said they will work through the two-hour delay to get things ready for students on Wednesday and that includes getting their buses up and going.
"Diesel fuel when it gets to a certain degree it starts to turn into slush and it doesn't work well in an engine so that's the biggest piece," said Dean Sandwisch, director of business affairs at Oregon City Schools. "It will just completely break down a bus. We have all our buses plugged in, it keeps them warm, but there is a point in time where it just gets too cold to run."
School leaders say it takes a lot of work and time to prepare the building and buses for students in this cold.
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