Hundreds Stay Home from School Due to Freezing Temperatures

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BAY COUNTY - The cold weather convinced a lot of Bay County parents to keep their kids home from school Tuesday. School officials report three times as many absences as normal at some schools.

Classrooms at Cedar Grove Elementary looked bare Tuesday. About a third of the students stayed home due to cold weather.

"We have a lot of families that don't have transportation or have one vehicle and if the kids can't ride the bus, they have no way to get here. We understand that and they have. A majority of our parents have called," said Phillip Campbell, Principal of Cedar Grove Elementary.

The freezing temperatures are forcing handfuls of students to bundle up and teachers to change their curriculum.

"A lot of them have adjusted their instruction and they're doing some reteaching or some extension learning with those classes and really holding off for when the majority come back," said Campbell.

Most schools reported at least 100 absences Tuesday. School district officials say elementary schools saw more than double the number of students absent compared to an average day.

The cold weather conditions are considered an excused absence and Bay District School officials say they have a reason why.

"Our parents and children are not accustomed to this extreme cold and the superintendent had a concern about children being out at bus stops at 6 A.M. in the morning exposed to this very cold weather," said Lee Stafford, Director of Student Services for Bay District Schools.

Superintendent Bill Husfelt has extended the excused absence policy through Wednesday, when warmer temperatures will move-in.

Parents deciding the keep their kids at home because of the cold weather, need to call their school in the morning.