Even with schools canceled and the Quad-City area in the midst of two days of sub-zero temperatures, some high school students are still bundling up and braving the cold to make it to practice.
For the most part, varsity teams are holding practices. But winter guards and show choirs are practicing too.
“This impacts all fine arts and athletics,” said Colin Wikan, activities director for Bettendorf. “Anyone that needs a practice, rehearsal time ... they have the opportunity to practice.”
In Bettendorf, groups can practice Thursday between noon and 4 p.m.; in Davenport, groups have between noon and 3 p.m., and in Pleasant Valley, practices must finish by 5 p.m.
“That’s so it’s in the middle of the day,” Davenport spokeswoman Dawn Saul said. “It’s a little warmer.”
According to the National Weather Service, temperatures are expected to break 0 degrees again Thursday afternoon.
“Unless our athletics directors are specifically directed not to, they can make practices optional,” Saul said.
Most area school districts told groups they could not meet Wednesday when the wind chill warning was in effect.
“The weather was just too cold with the wind chill,” Wakin said.
Usually meeting with the superintendent and principal, activities directors said they looked at facilities, roads and temperatures when making a decision.
“The focus is always on student safety,” said D’Anne Kroemer, Pleasant Valley activities director. “It’s typically a range of time. It’s typically varsity only.”
Kroemer said she had seen students involved in basketball, drama, vocal music, wrestling and swimming in school facilities “at some point” during the canceled days, excepting Wednesday, when it was “not an option to even come into the building.”
Even with practices optional, Wikan and Kroemer said students are likely to go.
“It’s optional, but I would say most kids make it,” Wikan said. “Especially on the varsity level. It’s not held against them if they can’t, but teams need to practice.”