DeKALB – With subzero temperatures and strong winds predicted today, public buildings, schools and colleges in DeKalb County have planned to close their doors today.
All local public school districts are closed. The Northern Illinois University campus will be entirely shut down, with classes canceled and employees not expected to report to work. Classes will not resume until 8 a.m. Wednesday.
All DeKalb County public buildings including the courthouse will be closed as well because of roads and weather conditions.
Meteorologist predictions for gusty winds paired with more snow prompted District 428 to cancel Monday’s classes, Superintendent Jim Briscoe said. He said the temperature was not the determining factor. Classes could be canceled in the district Tuesday as well, Briscoe said.
“It’s the winds and light snow and the fact that we’re expecting more snow,” Briscoe said. “It could create some dangerous driving conditions.”
The DeKalb County Sheriff’s office responded to several accidents over the weekend related to ice- and snow-covered roads. Gov. Pat Quinn’s office Sunday issued a statement urging Illinois residents to stay inside.
“As we head into another bout of extreme winter weather, our public safety workers are working around the clock to keep people safe while keeping roads open for those who must travel,” Quinn said in a written statement Sunday. “I urge all residents to stay warm and check on your friends and relatives who may need assistance during the dangerous cold. And please keep your pets indoors during this winter blast.”
Briscoe said district officials would continue to monitor the weather to determine if school should be canceled Tuesday. High temperatures Tuesday are predicted to be in the subzero range, according to Accuweather reports.
“As of Wednesday it looks as though we could get back to school,” Briscoe said. “All we can do is wait and watch.”
Other closures include Family Service Agency and Sycamore Park District offices, programs and community center. Voluntary Action Center will provide limited service.
Help from the cold
The frigid temperatures and persistent snow has generated some good activity. This winter’s brutal cold encouraged a dozen DeKalb agencies to collaborate on their efforts to keep people safely inside.
Among those participating in the discussion is Family Services Agency’s Executive Director David Miller. He said the group is working to compile a list of agencies and faith-based organizations that offer shelter and resources for people who are homeless, temporarily displaced or otherwise don’t have a place to go to seek shelter.
“This is really a starting off point,” Miller said. “We are putting together a list so we know where to point people. If we coordinate we can be much more effective.”
Other agencies involved included the DeKalb Police Department, DeKalb Fire Department, Salvation Army, Hope Haven, Kishwaukee Family YMCA, Voluary Action Center, the DeKalb Housing Authority, DeKalb Township, the DeKalb Park District, the DeKalb Public Library and Feed ‘em Soup.
DeKalb City Hall, 200 S. Fourth St., serves as a warming shelter when it is open during regular business hours, and it also can be opened after hours in an emergency situation where other facilities don’t have room.
So far this year, the city has not had to activate city hall as an emergency shelter because other agencies have taken in those in need, Police Chief Gene Lowery said.
“As of right now, we have met the need,” Lowery said. “But we’re addressing the availability of shelter in general. It doesn’t matter who it is. No human being should be out when it’s this cold.”
He said anyone needing assistance can call 815-748-8400.