WINDHAM, Ohio - With temperatures that were expected to dip into the single digits and mid-day wind chills already below zero, every school district in Portage County was closed on Thursday with the exception of one.
On the second day back from their winter break, Windham schools stayed open Thursday, the superintendent explaining it was a decision he made taking many factors into consideration including input from other area superintendents.
"Ironically, everybody to our west is off; everybody to our east is in session, so that's always a unique thing, so lot of layers to it," said superintendent, Gregg Isler.
Isler explained that while all other school districts in Portage County were closed, schools in neighboring Trumbull County stayed open.
He explained to FOX 8 News there are guidelines that he uses when making his decision, and using temperatures rather than inches of snow is usually not as difficult.
"Some of the guidelines we try to use: wind chill -- we are looking negative 15, negative 18. I have been superintendent nine years. When I started it was negative 20, but we look at things differently than we used to," said Isler.
Isler said the actual temperature for closing schools is minus 10, but in his mind he would not rule out cancelling school if the actual temperature is minus 7.
On Thursday, the absence rate at Windham schools was about 22-percent, more than twice the expected absence rate for this time of year, suggesting that some parents made the decision to keep their children at home on their own.
The district did make the decision to cancel an away basketball game scheduled for Thursday night against Pymatuning Valley.
All of the scheduled weekend school activities are also expected to be cancelled.
Isler says barring anything unexpected it is likely he will close schools on Friday, when the temperatures are expected to be more extreme.