It's kind of assumed, among coaches, parents, student-athletes and educators, that if school is cancelled or releases early because of inclement weather all athletic games and other extra-curricular activities scheduled for the subsequent evening will be cancelled and/or postponed as well.
Assumptions are one thing, but Crookston School Board member Frank Fee, who sits on the board's policy committee, said this week that there is no policy in writing that requires school activities to be nixed if school is cancelled or releases early.
That fact apparently leaves some wiggle room. Did Pirate football captains hold an informal practice with no coaches present after school released early last week because of the early winter storm? Fee said that's what he'd been told. Then there's the old hockey arenas and the current Crookston Sports Center. Facilities owned by the city, Fee said it's his understanding that from time to time over the years Pirate hockey teams have held various informal practices on days that school has been cancelled because of stormy winter weather.
Most school districts probably have a policy on that subject in writing, Superintendent Chris Bates said, especially when it comes to out-of-town games being cancelled because of bad weather. "I think you put your neck in a noose when you send kids home and then get them on buses to head elsewhere for games," he said.
During last week's storm, however, while many school districts in the area started classes two hours late, classes in Crookston started on time. Even though students were released early, at noon, Bates said that was mostly due to the fact that power had been knocked out at Highland School. The forecast indicated that things might clear up some by mid-afternoon, he said, leaving open the possibility that athletic contests that evening could have gone on as scheduled, had a full day of school been held.
Fee said it's his understanding that when the subject has been discussed in the past, coaches and athletic/activities directors have preferred to not have a policy in writing, in case the weather improves and sports teams have games scheduled against teams not that far away, like East Grand Forks, Warren-Alvarado-Olso, Red Lake Falls or Thief River Falls.
Bates said that might be a moot point if all of the other districts down the highway have written policies in place to cancel games and other activities when school is cancelled. He added that he agrees that the school board here should pursue a policy in writing as well. "Sometimes school is the safest place they can be," Bates said. "But if you're going to send kids home, it's best to keep them home."
Page 2 of 2 - Fee said he agrees. "This has been an issue that's come up for years," he said.