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Nevada superintendent defends decisions to close school

Just before the start of Monday’s regular school board meeting, Nevada Superintendent Steve Gray appeared on the Channel 8 news.

The news story was about closing school because of the severe cold, something Gray has done three times, including this past Monday, during the present school year. In total, Nevada has now missed four days because of weather concerns and the last day of the school year now stands at June 5.

Gray reiterated to the school board that he is using -30 degrees windchill as a benchmark for his decision-making concerning having school, noting that when it gets around 10-15 minutes or less of exposure time before a person can be physically harmed in these temperatures, he’s going to err on the side of safety.

“We have a number of students who walk to bus stops and stand in unsheltered locations. That isn’t acceptable for my children, so it’s not going to be acceptable for our students,” Gray said. Even with most of the schools around Nevada going forward with school Monday, Gray stands by his decision.

On Monday, he said, windchills would not have improved by 10 a.m., therefore a two-hour delay wouldn’t have alleviated his concerns. “If unacceptable conditions are projected to improve to an acceptable level within two hours of the regular school start time, a delay will be used,” he said.

Gray told the board that he received one email Monday from a parent wanting to know if spring break days could be used to make up some of these missed days, rather than continuing to add them onto the end of the school year. Gray explained that the calendar was set by the school board last year with the understanding that all makeup days would be added at the end. “I will stick to the calendar that was approved and communicated, as people have made plans based on that calendar,” he said.

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