Recently, the eastern and southern U.S. experienced below-average temperatures at the start of 2019. These particularly frigid days have created some setbacks for Juniata Valley. The school had a series of delays and cancellations that pushed back the end of the school year from May 30 to June 3.
So why the freeze up? Dr. Todd Crawford of The Weather Channel stated: “The stratospheric polar vortex has been taking a beating, and there are indications that a significant stratospheric warming event is coming soon, by displacement or split, which may also help to increase probabilities of the sort of high-latitude blocking that would favor a colder late-winter look.”
This polar vortex was a whirling cone of low pressure that occurred a few miles above the poles. It was strongest in the winter months due to the increased temperature contrast between the polar regions and the mid-latitudes. A displaced or split polar vortex was what unleashed much colder temperatures in January.
The teachers at JV have expressed a series of negative responses to the recent weather. It has had a major setback in assignments and projects the students should have had done in January.
Tara Yorke, a senior high science teacher, commented: “The recent weather was very unfortunate. It set back a few of my classes. Of course, I can’t expect them to learn faster than I can teach, so catching up is seeming more difficult as of now.”
JV does have a schedule for delays. The school switches out morning classes for afternoon classes, so the same morning classes aren’t constantly being missed. For example, they will switch out sixth period for first, then second with seventh, and third with eighth. “I really like the way the schedule is set up”, commented Yorke. “That way I’m not missing all of my morning classes for significant amount of days.”
There was also a minor setback in some agricultural projects that should have been done by the end of January. Students are rushing to get them finished so they aren’t taking any more of their lesson time away. “Normally all of the kids would have their projects done at the same time. But because of me not having specific classes, it sets a lot of students behind the others,” commented Raylene Russell, the agriculture teacher and FFA adviser at JV.
Other teachers and students reported having larger exams that kept being rescheduled, causing some students to experience some stress. Junior Darian Gummo stated “I just wanted to get my math final over with and know it was done, so the delays and cancellations didn’t help!”
From a district planning stand point, the school’s student wide positive behavior support celebration had to be postponed a few weeks, though normally held at the end of the marking period. Athletic events had to be rescheduled as well as other after school activities.
With Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction for an early spring, JV, along with probably many other school districts, are hoping Phil is right this year.