Suburban school district delays first day of classes due to extreme heat

A suburban school district has postponed its first day of classes due to the dangerous heat expected to plague the Chicago area this week.

On Monday, Supt. Dr. Kevin Russell of Downers Grove Grade School District 58 announced that classes on Wednesday would be delayed until Friday because of "extreme heat conditions in our area."

He said that most of the district's schools are not equipped with air conditioning or modern HVAC equipment.

Furthermore, Russell said remote learning is not possible because students have not yet received their electronic devices nor do they know how to use them, and also that the first days of school are for building relationships and routines and that remote learning "is not conducive to that."

Classes on Friday will begin at their normal time, Russell said.


You can read Supt. Dr. Kevin Russell's full email to parents below:

"Dear Parents,

We hope this message finds you well. We would like to inform you that we are delaying the start of school from this Wednesday to Friday, Aug. 25 due to the forecast of extreme heat conditions in our area. Therefore, school will start on Friday, Aug. 25 at its normal time.

Our primary focus is ensuring a safe and conducive learning environment for everyone. This has been a difficult decision and one we hoped we didn’t have to make. Unfortunately, our classrooms and most areas of our schools are not equipped with air conditioning nor modern HVAC systems, which can cause significant issues for individuals in extreme weather. By postponing the start of school by two days, we aim to provide a more favorable environment for effective teaching and learning.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s email, remote learning is not possible for many reasons. One, elementary students have not yet received their electronic devices. Additionally, teachers have not instructed students on how to use them for remote learning, and finally, the first few days of school are used to build relationships and routines and remote learning is not conducive to that.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this delay might cause. We understand that this change may affect your plans and schedules, and we truly appreciate your understanding and flexibility during these unforeseen circumstances.

As you know, thanks to your support in the referendum, we are working toward long-term solutions to improve these conditions in our schools. In the meantime, we kindly ask for your patience and support as we work toward implementing these improvements.

If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your principal or me.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we navigate these challenges together. Your children’s and our staff's safety are of the utmost importance to us, and we are committed to providing the best possible educational experience for our students. For other days, where it will be warm, but not as oppressive, we will practice our heat relief protocols in the schools.


Dr. Kevin Russell