EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation announced on social media Wednesday morning all schools would be closed, due to the forecasted snow.
Officials say based on the issue of the winter weather advisory and the overnight prediction for an increased snow amount, they did not want to risk the chance of a dangerous situation during school dismissal.
“All weather situations are different during the winter,” says Jason Woebkenberg with EVSC, “and in this particular situation, it was the timing that really changed. Last night, it didn’t look like this was going to happen at a certain time with the risk of accumulation. That changed overnight.”
This snow day applied to all students, even those already at home learning virtually.
“We are taking advantage, in this situation, of a waiver by the state of Indiana,” says Woebkenberg. “That allows us to be a day that will not have to be made up, and that includes students who are in the virtual academy and in our RAMP program. There are no virtual assignments being made today.”
For families who were left scrambling to find childcare, Carissa Shiyab of Evansville knows the feeling of helplessness all too well.
She is a mother of five and runs Little Ducklings Academy on Evansville’s north side.
“On days like today,” says Shiyab, “I have gotten four phone calls. That’s for home daycare. I can’t imagine what a center is bringing in.”
She says her small, home-based daycare can only accommodate 16 students at a time, but the demand is much greater.
“Moms and dads that have jobs and then on a whim need to call someone,” says Shiyab, “I understand that is so difficult. I mean making that call to grandma at 6:00 a.m. can’t be easy.”
Shiyab says with the safety measures surrounding COVID-19, even grandparents are not always a guarantee for daycare.
“It is so hard to balance that,” says Shiyab. “I mean, what do you do? The only alternative is to stay home.”
Officials with EVSC recommend all families have a back-up plan in place for snow days.
“We will try to inform people as early as possible,” says Woebkenberg, “but sometimes like today, that notification in the morning is the only thing we can utilize, because the winter weather event changes. So please make sure that you have a plan in place and a back-up system ready to go, should we ever need to cancel. We still do have several weeks left here in the winter months.”
Moving forward, officials say they may be able to utilize virtual learning in the event of a snow day, if they are able to make that call well in advance. They say they want to make sure both the families and the students feel confident about learning from home on short notice.
”We have made sure all students have take-home devices,” says Woebkenberg. “We’ve worked with students to make sure that even those who have limited access to broadband internet have that option as well and have devices to assist with that. We are in a position to be able to use virtual instruction should we need it for snow days.”