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School Board Discusses Weather And Student Safety

By Staff | Feb 25, 2010

Extra curricular practices and activities scheduled on days when weather-related school delays and cancellations have occurred were among the topics discussed by the Emmetsburg Community Schools Board of Education during their Feb. 15 meeting.

“Currently, if we get out of school early due to weather or safety concerns, all after school activities are cancelled,” said Joynt. “However, if school is cancelled, coaches and sponsors are to confer with the principal or activities director to determine if an afternoon practice can be scheduled. Events and contests can still take place, but may be cancelled as well.”

“Do we have a policy when it comes to Sunday practices?” asked Steve Pelzer, board member.

Joynt answered, “Yes, it’s in the athletic handbook. It’s discouraged unless you have a Monday event or state competition.”

“It seems like we have quite a few of those, and I wonder if they’re all necessary,” Pelzer said. “I’ve had a few people ask about those.”

Anderson added that she had been approached by individuals, as well, in regards to activities scheduled during inclement weather.

“We discussed this as a board years ago, and we left it up to the principals and administration to make the final call [when practices/events are held],” said Anderson. “There was a practice yesterday. I was out on those roads yesterday, and there was no way anyone should have been out on those roads.”

Anderson went on to say that she believed there was too much pressure being placed on the administration to make weather-related decisions in regards to school activities and practices.

“I know practice is important, but I feel one more practice isn’t going to make such a difference in their performance, whether it’s athletics, music, band, or play,” Anderson stated. “We’ve had two fatalities within a week in this county. It’s devastating to think one of our students could be involved in one of those accidents trying to get to practice.”

Anderson added that she believes there needs to be a policy of “no school, no activities.”

“I certainly understand the concern, but I don’t think we put students at risk,” replied Jay Jurrens, Middle School/High School Principal. “We’ve all seen those days where we call school off in the morning and it’s cleared up by noon, and you wonder why you didn’t have school. I’d hate to take that away. I’m comfortable making that decision; I think Mr. Carter [activities director] is, too. It’s always very clear—if you can’t make it, don’t come.”

Anderson raised the point that Emmetsburg students are very competitive and may not heed a weather-related warning to stay at home if a practice is scheduled.

“I can’t imagine if an accident did happen,” said Don Hagen, board member, who added that he had received several calls from concerned parents, as well. “I don’t think our coaches and administration should be responsible for making that call. I think we [as a board] need to make that call as a board policy.”

“I don’t have a problem with the Sunday practices if they have an event scheduled for Monday,” noted Laure Egland. “I just have had parents call me asking why we’re having a practice if we had no school that day due to the weather.”

Superintendent Joynt stated that short of a board motion, he could put something together for next month.

“I’d like to start somewhere and see a draft,” said Anderson, bringing the discussion to a close.