CHICAGO (CBS) — While hundreds of Chicago area schools closed at least once week because of bitter cold temperatures and wind chills, there is at least one city in North America that never does under those conditions.
Granted, the predicted high in Anchorage, Alaska, was 31 degrees higher than Chicago, according to AccuWeather, but they do get their share of subzero temperatures and heavy snow.
Yet, it’s not snow and cold that force Anchorage schools to close – ever – according to Anchorage School District chief academic officer Michael Graham.
“We did have a superintendent a couple years ago who came … from Florida. As we were preparing for the first big snowstorm, I think he called folks in and said, ‘Well, do we prepare to close?’” Graham said. “Everybody around here laughed; said, ‘No, we don’t close because there’s snow.’”
The district will close at times due to icy roads.
“We will get what we call Chinook wind, which are warm winds that come through, melt everything, and streets can look like a Zamboni just went down them. It has to do usually with that transportation factor. Is it safe to get out and move about?” Graham said.
He said the only modification Anchorage schools make when it gets bitterly cold is keeping children inside at recess.
The Anchorage School District has 48,000 students, and a geographic of approximately 2,000 square miles, or larger than the state of Rhode Island.