Win or lose, the Colts’ appearance in the Super Bowl this Sunday will result in a two-hour delayed start for Indianapolis Public Schools the following Monday.
In 2007, when the Colts were in the Super Bowl, IPS experienced problems when roughly 50 percent of its bus drivers called in sick the next day. This year, they’ve come prepared and are playing it safe by delaying the start of school Monday, Feb. 8 – a day after the Indianapolis Colts play in Super Bowl XLIV.
Administrators say they have no other choice.
“We have to start on time and cross our fingers that people show up. We have a two-hour delay, which hopefully means people get it together, or we have closed schools. That’s not an option,” said Mary Louise Bewley, IPS. “We’re hoping this compromise, really, will make it possible to have the best of both worlds. The ability to celebrate the Colts and have a day of education.”
The delay acknowledges that some staff may not arrive at work at their scheduled 5:30 a.m. start time because of the late start of the game on Sunday, Feb. 7.
“A two-hour delay provides a compromise that ensures our children will arrive at school safely,” said Superintendent Eugene White. “Children need to be in school. But this is a unique situation that doesn’t happen every year. The delay will allow our families and staff to cheer on our home team and focus on the business of education.”
Nearly 27,000 children depend on 450 buses and their drivers. In 2007, bus drivers called in sick after many students were already on street corners, waiting for the buses to show up.
“We can’t leave kids stranded in the cold. We can’t have kids stranded, waiting for buses that would not show up,” Bewley said.
“It shows IPS wants to be on board with the rest of Indianapolis and support the Colts,” said Oliver Webb, AFSCME #2.
UPDATE: Indiana’s Department of Education denied Indianapolis Public Schools’ announced two-hour delay citing that the Superbowl does not meet the two-hour emergency delay. Since then the two sides have come to a slight compromise and the IPS will implement a one-hour delay.