The Dangers of Cold Weather and Why Some Schools Closed Because of It

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Air temperatures got as low as -9 without windchill Monday, which is cold enough to be dangerous to anyone caught outside. That's why many schools closed their doors to keep kids at home.

Medical professionals said staying inside is the best idea with below zero temperatures.

With temperatures as cold as -30 with wind Monday some parts of your body could have been susceptible to frostbite in a matter of minutes.

Brenda Carlson, a Nurse Educator and the Trauma Coordinator at Mary Lanning Health Care Center said, "The most exposed areas of your body, particularly your nose, your ears, your fingers, your toes are more vulnerable to cold temperatures because there's obviously less circulation to those areas."

Emergency Room workers at Mary Lanning said the results from frostbite can be severe.

"There's actually four different stages or degrees of frostbite. The first stage is called 'Frost Nip' where the actual outside of your skin just kind of freezes and it may turn white. But then it develops, if you're out in the cold a lot longer, into 3rd and 4th degrees where the tissue actually turns purple or black and thus the only way that they can really handle or manage this is probably amputation," said Carlon.

Medical officials said no matter the level of frostbite, someone out in the cold too long must go to the Emergency Room so that they can warm up under medical supervision.

Schools in Grand Island Monday decided to close or not depending on one main factor.

"We are a city school, we don't run city buses for our kids so we have a significant number of our kids that walk to school. Certainly our commentaries when they're neighborhood schools. We have a large number of our elementary kids that walk to school," said Grand Island Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Rob Winter.

Grand Island Northwest Superintendent Matt Fisher said, "We're a little bit unique in that we have almost no students who walk to school and almost every one of our students is either delivered by their parents to the school or we do run a very limited number of buses."

Medical officials said it was bad enough that if someone was outside too long, they could die.

"Oh yes! Yup, your body temperature or core temperature will drop, so it's important to keep track of how long you've been outside," said Carlson about the possibility of dying from cold.

With the weather being as cold as it was Monday, it was probably a good thing that most kids did not have to walk to school, but there were other benefits for some schools to stay open while other schools remained closed.

"You only have X number of days to get everything done that you have in your curriculum and every time you lose a day, you've put a hold basically in the educational process for the students that miss out on that day," said Fisher.

GIPS said Monday worked okay for a day off.

"This day we'll be fine with, but if we have more then we have days built in that we'll make up around the Easter break. This one is, if you will, a bit of a freebie, but then if we lose more days then we'll start having to look at making them up," said Dr. Winter.


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