Indiana doctors, schools stress the importance of layering up amid arctic temps

INDIANAPOLIS – Dozens of schools across central Indiana are delaying start times due to the freezing temperatures.

As students return to the classroom this week amid the coldest temperatures so far this winter, parents are bundling up their kids so they stay nice and warm.

“Make sure they are double or triple-layered,” suggested parent Charmita Gibson. “Three or four socks in their boots and shoes.”

As parents make sure their children are appropriately dressed for school during this cold weather, local medical experts are also stressing the importance of layers.

“Keep as much of your skin covered as you can especially when the wind picks up,” said Dr. Tyler Stepsis, chief of emergency medicine at Eskenazi Hospital. “Windchill is a huge issue when it comes to that. The lower the windchill, the faster you get frostbite.”

Stepsis also said it is important that people know some of the starting signs of frostbite.

“Initially, you’ll have kind of a red, warm, tingly sensation to your skin then that skin will become numb,” he said. “Then you’ll begin to start to see things like decreases in movement of the fingers and toes.”

Some parents said they are changing their children’s transportation method this week because of these arctic-like temperatures.

“They normally catch the bus, but they go so early in the morning,” Gibson said. “So probably what I’m going to do is I’m going to have to take the extra step and take them to school this week. I do not want them to be out in this weather.”

For students who do need to ride a bus to school this week, Gibson suggested other IPS parents use the “Here Comes the Bus” app. The app allows parents to track the location of the bus.

“When you can see it coming to you, then I would send the kids out that way,” Gibson recommended.

School officials in central Indiana also said they too are keeping an eye on these below-freezing temperatures.

“Anytime we’re in negative temperatures [we will have] some delays, perhaps closing if it’s not going to warm up in that hour of time,” said Greenfield-Central Superintendent Harold Olin.

While every district has its own set of policies, Olin said schools often take windchill into consideration, especially when it is -15 or lower.

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