Many schools throughout Central Indiana have already decided to delay the start of classes on Tuesday because of frigid temperatures and wind that could produce wind chills of -20 degrees or lower.
Superintendents from Marion County held a special conference call on Monday night, with some districts, such as Washington Township, opting to move back the start of classes. Others, such as IPS, were still waiting to make a call.
Regardless of when classes do begin, the wind chill will still be dangerously low by the time school buses arrive. That’s why some parents are taking matters into their own hands.
Kimberly Lewis made sure she was there to pick her daughter up from swimming at Warren Central High School Monday night, and with temperatures dropping, she’s made special plans for the morning too.
“She has to walk down to the corner, and it’s just too cold so I’ll drive her,” Kimberly Lewis said.
Glenn Lewis said he’ll make sure his own daughter is bundled up a little more than normal, but when it comes to the bus he says his family has some help.
“Some of the neighbors are super friendly and they pile into a house on either side (of the bus stop),” Glenn Lewis said.
“If there’s any way you can limit their exposure outside, that would be preferred,” said Dr. John Finnell, an emergency physician at Wishard Hospital.
Whether buses are on time or two hours late, emergency doctors say parents or neighbors helping at bus stops is a great idea, not just for the warmth.
“If the kids are playing and they get injured and are unable to get back up or get help, so if they’re out alone, those are the ones that we would worry about,” Dr. Finnell said.
If parents can’t accompany their children, Dr. Finnell suggests taking a cue from a certain fictional Indiana family.
“Sort of like from the movie the Christmas Story,” Dr. Finnell said, referring to the movie in which a mother famously bundles up her young son to the point that he can hardly move his arms. “That’s not silly when you get to these sort of extremes, where everything is sort of protected and covered.”
“Definitely gloves, hat, scarf, whatever you can, get them on,” Glenn Lewis said.
Dr. Finnell says parents and other adults who have a cold weather plan, should also make sure they have backup plans, which can simply include bringing a cell phone in case a car breaks down.
Frostbite can begin to set in in 30 minutes or less when the wind chill drops below -20 degrees.