It's back to school day at area schools

Educators say extra time off should not be a big issue in the classrooms

Extreme cold weather left classes empty the past two days in Will and Grundy counties but school officials say bringing students up to speed won’t be much of a problem. 

After temperatures and wind chills dropped below zero Monday and Tuesday, school districts across the county closed and for some of them, Tuesday represented their fourth snow day of the year. But it’s back to school Wednesday.

Lost time in the classroom may mean less time to study for state exams in the spring, but some school officials are not seeing a harsh rebound for classroom work outside of those exams. 

Channahon School District 17 Superintendent Karin Evans said the four days the district lost to inclement weather this year may cause some problems but won’t be too detrimental to student learning. 

“We have bright kids and the fact that the weather hasn’t cooperated is going to cause some issues, instructionally,” she said. 

School officials had even predicted a rough winter in the fall, she said, but when the students come back to classes Wednesday they will continue their instruction in English, language arts and math. 

One thing teachers will have to make sure students are not struggling with are preparations for the Illinois State Achievement Test in the spring.

“Those teachers are probably anxious to get back in here tomorrow and get revved up,” she said. 

Students in grades three to eight take the test, and third-grade teachers have to make sure students are prepared as it will be their first time taking the test, she said. 

Fairmont School District 89 officials said they’re not feeling anxious about the classroom time lost to snow days as they will make it up by the end of the year.

But like educators in the Channahon school district, they don’t want any more harsh weather interfering with students preparing for state exams, district Superintendent Sonya Whitaker said.

“We definitely don’t want much more time off if we can avoid it because students’ minds need to be warmed up to the idea of engaging in the standardized test process,” she said. 

The district has gone through three snow days thus far. But officials are not concerned about going over the five emergency days scheduled just yet, she said. There’s still the weather in February and March to consider. 

“Beyond that, it’s up to Mother Nature to decide,” she said. 

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