Icy streets lead to cancelled classes, other problems in eastern Iowa

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG)- A slick commute and cancelled classes disrupted the morning in parts of eastern Iowa as unexpected icing caused problems.

A sign in front of Taylor Elementary in Cedar Rapids warns of both no school and slick sidewalks. The district cancelled classes for elementary students but middle and high school students went all day as scheduled.

Cedar Rapids Street Crews were out early to spread salt and sand to improve traction for drivers. But just off Rogers Road NW, one spreader truck couldn’t help itself.

Mike Neilly, a homeowner in the area, said he saw the city truck at the top of the hill leading to his house and saw it start to slide on the ice.

The truck overturned in his yard and broke off a mailbox which is something that’s happened on his property five times before.

“I could see him coming down the hill from my kitchen and I though because he had so much weight in the truck it’ll be OK. All of a sudden I hear this tremendous crash,” Neilly said.

The ice prompted a number of districts to call off classes Tuesday morning.

But the Cedar Rapids district got caught in the middle.

With some students with earlier start times already on the way to school, the district kept middle and high school classes in session.

But elementary students, who start an hour later, were told to stay home for the whole day.

District administrators looked at records all the way back to the year 2000.

They couldn’t find another time when half the students were in class and half stayed home on the same day.

Jon Walsh, who has kids in both middle and elementary schools in Cedar Rapids, said that “split” decision by the district did cause some scrambling as some of his kids were at home and some at school.

“My wife and I took care of it. She works later and I work earlier. I just took off the rest of the day and that’s how we did it,” Walsh said.

One administrator says it was decided to keep middle and high schoolers in classes the entire day because sending them home early, while ice was still a problem, would have been a safety risk.

Cedar Rapids streets supervisors assured the district side streets around schools would be treated by the regular afternoon dismissal time.