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Schools staying closed Tuesday due to record cold in Oak Park, River Forest

<p>Gilverto Novello, originally from Ecuador, braves the sub-zero temperatures as he waits for a bus on Oak Park Avenue at South Boulevard. Bitter cold weather kept all but the hardiest folks inside Monday. | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media</p>

Gilverto Novello, originally from Ecuador, braves the sub-zero temperatures as he waits for a bus on Oak Park Avenue at South Boulevard. Bitter cold weather kept all but the hardiest folks inside Monday. | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media

Hazardous winter conditions led Oak Park Elementary District 97, River Forest Elementary District 90 and Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200 to cancel classes and activities on Tuesday.
 
It was the second day in a row that classes and activities were cancelled at the schools. Officials at each district said they anticipated classes would be back in session on Wednesday, but that parents and guardians should continue to monitor district websites as well as their Facebook and Twitter pages.
 
“We take a variety of factors into account when deciding whether to close school due to inclement weather — availability of transportation, condition of the streets and sidewalks, condition of our facilities, etc. In these cases, our primary goal and objective is to preserve and protect the health and safety of our students and staff,” said D97 spokesman Chris Jasculca.
 
D97, like most of the other local public and private schools, closed its schools and administrative buildings on Monday to keep students and staff safe from the life-threatening cold that reached 16 degrees below zero with a wind chill of 42 degrees below. 
 
The schools were among dozens of closings and meeting cancellations reported Monday.
 
The D200 board had hoped to complete an already-overdue review on Monday of its latest draft of a five-year strategic plan to be presented for a full vote later this month.
 
But like the Oak Park Village Board, which canceled its regularly scheduled meeting, the D200 board canceled its specially-called retreat on Monday.
 
D200 board President John Phelan said the school building already had been closed for the day on Monday, so it didn’t make sense to open it for the meeting.
 
“We didn’t want our facilitators, who live out of town, to come out for it. We didn’t want them to be unsafe,” he said. 
 
“It puts us off a little bit,” Phelan admitted about the completion of the strategic plan, which is nearly one-and-a-half years in the making. “We’ll get there, but we just won’t get there today.”
 
Warming centers for the homeless and those experiencing difficulties with their heating systems are open till 8 p.m. at Village Hall, 123 Madison St.; West Suburban Medical Center, 3 Erie Court; and Rush Oak Park Hospital, 520 S. Maple Ave. 
 
Angie Spino, director of marketing and communications at Rush Oak Park Hospital, said the policy there is for warming centers to be available 24 hours a day any time the temperature falls below 32 degrees. On Monday, about six people took advantage of the offer, she said.
 
“People are coming in with colds and flus and other emergency room concerns, but nothing related at this point to the frigid weather,” she added.
 
Oak Park Police Department Commander LaDon Reynolds said officers have been well able to handle the runs on which they have been sent.

"Most of the calls we had today were-vehicle-related, people getting stuck and that sort of thing," he said.
 
Oak Leaves was not able to reach village public works director John Wielebnicki.
 
However, according to the village web page, “The snow emergency parking rules are no longer in effect as of Mon., Jan. 6. Parking may resume on designated snow routes and the odd/even rule on other streets no longer applies. Please follow all posted restrictions, especially those related to safety.”
 
Village officials also are asking residents in addition to digging out their cars to also help dig out fire hydrants so firefighters have immediate access in the event of an emergency.
 
Though officials at the Oak Park Public Library could not be reached for comment, they had issued a release late Sunday afternoon declaring the building would be closed Monday but expected to resume regular hours on Tuesday. They suggest monitoring the library website and is Facebook and Twitter pages for updates.
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