School closure adds to make up days

As the days missed of school pile up in Marshalltown, so are those dreaded make up days at the end of the school year. Monday’s closing resulted in the addition of another day tacked on at the end of the school year, which now will be June 4.

Marshalltown Schools Superintendent Marvin Wade said the dangerously low wind chill temperatures forecasted for Monday led him to call off school.

“I hated to call off school,” Wade said. “I just felt the conditions warranted it.”

It will be the fifth make up day for the current school year with several weeks left of winter still remaining.

Two make up days take place during the school year (Jan. 20 and Feb. 17) and three have been added at the end of the year (June 2, 3, and 4).

“We’ve gone later (than June 4) in the past, but I hope we don’t have to,” Wade said.

Wade said he has to take each decision on its own merit and not factor in how many school days they have missed previously when making a decision on a particular day.

“We have to make each decision independently,” Wade said. “We can’t jeopardize the safety of kids because we already used four days.”

With a school year that started with missed time due to the heat and now with five winter-related school days missed, Wade said this has been a challenging year to get some continuity.

Ben Petty, superintendent of BCLUW and GMG school districts, decided to close the schools he oversees Monday, as did several other area schools.

While icy and snow-covered roads played a factor, the temperatures and wind chills were the main reason to shut down, Petty said.

“This closure was more due to the predicted wind chills,” Petty said. “We have quite a few children that either walk to school or have to wait outside at a bus stop.”

The Marshalltown elementary carnival originally scheduled for Sunday has been moved to Feb. 23 at the MHS Roundhouse. The time will remain the same from 2 to 4:30 p.m.