UPDATE: 60-70% of students attend during cold snap

At the time students and staff  arrived at school, the temperature was  2°, with a wind chill of  -16°.

At the time students and staff arrived at school, the temperature was 2°, with a wind chill of -16°.

Clarion Staff, Clarion Staff

According to Attendance Secretary Heather Spry, 61.4% of students attended school Wednesday, and 78.5% attended Thursday.  Rather than determining an acceptable school day by number of students in attendance, the state instead determines one by the number of hours the school is open.

RB remained open on Thursday as well.  Many other area schools remained closed, though District 96 re-opened its doors.

Despite temperatures on Wednesday that, according to weather.com, reached three degrees with 20 mile-per-hour winds, RB stayed open.

Feeder school districts including District 95 (SE Gross and Brook Park) and District 96 (Riverside Public Schools) closed Wednesday, as did some high schools in the area including Morton, Downers Grove North and South, Oak Park River Forest, and most of the schools in RB’s IHSA conference.  Chicago Public Schools made the decision on Tuesday to close the 664 schools in the district.

According to a press release, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said, “The safety and well-being of our students comes first.  The frigid temperatures and winds make a dangerous combination, and it is in the best interest of our students to cancel classes.”

In deciding to remain open, RB administration looked to the polar vortex from last year.

“We looked at the temperatures for the four days last year when we closed, and we felt today’s temperatures were not as severe,” Superintendent Kevin Skinkis said. “We understand that closing school is not an easy decision, and that there’ll be some people that are happy and there’ll be some people that are upset but our overall goal is to have school open, and that’s the choice we made today.”

Some students were inconvenienced because they had to find other ways of getting to school instead of walking.

“I feel it’s pretty unfair for the people that have to walk every day,” junior Daniel Waas said.

Attendance in some classes was as low as 50%, such as first hour AP Stats with Lindsay Mynaugh which had 17 out of 32 people in class, according to senior Nicole Cisar, a student in the class.

Not every school system in the area closed.  Lyons Township High School and the LaGrange elementary schools also stayed open.

On Wednesday, Skinkis said the administration would monitor weather conditions and continue to communicate with other districts.

“We thought it would be in the best interest to try to open today and monitor the weather,” Skinkis concluded. RB ultimately decided to stay open Thursday.

Clarion reporters Molly Cunningham, Nick Cundari, Cameron Shaw, Morgan DiVittorio, Galen Alaks and Chris Olszewski all contributed to this story.