School bell curing cabin fever as NWI students head back
By Carole Carlson email@example.com/302-0949 January 9, 2014 3:50PM
Students head to school buses Thursday at the Wirt-Emerson School for Visual and Performing Arts. It was their first day since Dec. 20 because of subzero temperatures and snow. | Carole Carlson~Sun-Times Media
Closed through Thursday
Charter School of the Dunes, Gary
East Chicago Urban Enterprise Academy
North Newton School Corp.
Michigan City Area Schools
Updated: February 11, 2014 6:22AM
Most Northwest Indiana schools reported few absences Thursday as life returned to normal for children and parents after a holiday break extended by three snow days.
“I think parents were really ready to get their kids back, based on the Facebook posts I saw,” said Thomas Ruiz, principal at St. Mary Elementary School in Crown Point. “There was major cabin fever going on.”
Ruiz said some St. Mary students are looking forward to “snow days,” of a literal nature, not the ones that require make-up time. However, the Indiana Department of Education is expected to grant waivers to schools so they won’t have to make up the time missed on Monday and Tuesday.
He said classes that won a recent school lottery will be allowed outside an hour before school ends Friday to play in the snow. That is, if it’s not raining as the forecast warns.
Temperatures could reach the mid-20s Thursday afternoon with possible snow showers. Friday’s forecast calls for morning showers giving way to a steady rain by afternoon. Highs could reach 40 degrees, triggering melting snow and possible flooding.
Charter School of the Dunes in Gary couldn’t open Thursday because of a water main break on U.S. 20 in Miller near the school. The East Chicago Urban Enterprise Academy, North Newton School Corp. and Michigan City Area Schools remained closed.
Meanwhile, about 10 Gary school buses operated by the Illinois Central Bus Co. got stuck trying to reach students on unpaved streets and parking lots. Jamal Washington, spokesman for Illinois Central, said Miller sites including Miller Village and Woodlake Apartments couldn’t be accessed.
River Forest Community School Corp. Superintendent James Rice said Thursday’s attendance was normal and buses ran on schedule at the Hobart Township district. “Things are going good. I think everyone was anxious to get back to school.”
Rice said a few classrooms were colder than normal, so adjustments were made. “We’re off and running,” he said.
Joe Gianotti, who teaches junior AP English Language and a senior-level short stories class for Lowell High School, said social media was blowing up with posts from antsy students.
“I watched my Twitter feed, and all I saw were kids who really wanted to get back to school,” he said. “Everything went great (Thursday); the kids seemed very focused.”
Laura Santana, a teacher with Eggers Middle School in Hammond, said longer breaks always seem to have the intended effect of a vacation rather than the one adults have of not ever wanting to go back to the daily grind.
“Even a four-day weekend, you can see the kids have so much energy and want to kid back into the swing of things,” she said.
“They’re going to be ready to go.”
Correspondent Michelle L. Quinn contributed to this story.