Extreme cold and potential for more rolling blackouts force area schools into remote learning
Schools across Shawnee County made the decision Monday to cancel school or move to remote learning due to extreme wind chills and the potential for rolling power outages to continue through Tuesday.
Topeka Unified School District 501 initially made the decision to continue remote learning through Wednesday but announced Monday afternoon that classes Tuesday and Wednesday would be canceled due to the potential for more blackouts. Shawnee Heights USD 450 and Silver Lake USD 372 announced early Monday afternoon their students would be learning remotely on Tuesday.
Auburn-Washburn superintendent Scott McWilliams said in a news release Monday that classes Tuesday would be canceled.
In order to conserve energy, McWilliams said, the district will run its generators at its schools that are equipped Monday evening and Tuesday morning instead of electricity.
The Seaman school district chose over the weekend to cancel all Monday classes and activities but extended that decision through Tuesday late Monday morning.
Washburn University announced Monday afternoon that classes on Tuesday and any classes after 4 p.m. Monday would be canceled. The university earlier had signaled it would try to hold classes remotely on Tuesday but later revised that to a complete class cancellation after the possibility of rolling blackouts was announced.
Evergy announced late Monday morning it would implement rolling blackouts as energy supply in the region fell short of demand.
The decisions on changes to school operations come in a year when schools have had to make sudden changes between learning phases because of COVID-19. With remote learning now a proven way for schools to continue teaching, snow days could become a thing of the past, barring further unprecedented scenarios like the current blast of arctic air.