by Jim Boyle
Gov. Mark Dayton has cancelled school for Minnesota Public Schools on Monday, Jan. 6.
He made the announcement today (Friday, Jan. 3) after hearing of National Weather Service forecasts predicting most of the state will experience the coldest temperatures in a decade with lows possibly reaching -30 degrees and wind chills at -50 degrees.
The decision was made today to give school administrators, teachers, and parents sufficient time to plan for these closures, according to a news release from the governor. The Minnesota Department of Education is notifying school districts of the closure.
Superintendent Mark Bezek said District 728 administrators will be gathering at 12:15 p.m. today to prepare for the closure. The school district will use its standard parent notification system, Bezek said.
State law provides the Governor of Minnesota authority to “authorize the commissioner of education to alter school schedules, curtail school activities, or order schools closed,” the release stated.
This is not the first time a governor has called school on account of cold weather. Gov. Arne Carlson did it three times.
First on Jan. 18, 1994 when temperatures bottomed out at -26.
He did it again on Feb. 2, 1996 when air temperatures in the Twin Cities reached -30. It reached -60 below in Tower, Minn. that day.
He did it a third time on Jan. 16, 1997 when the wind chill was -32 that morning.
“The safety of Minnesota’s schoolchildren must be our first priority,” said Governor Dayton. “I have made this decision to protect all our children from the dangerously cold temperatures now forecasted for next Monday. I encourage Minnesotans of all ages to exercise caution in these extreme weather conditions.”
The governor’s office also released a series of tips to keep people safe.
•Cold Weather Safety: Knowing that dangerous weather conditions will persist throughout the weekend and into early next week, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation have provided the following cold weather safety tips for Minnesotans of all ages:
•Winter Safety Checklist for Families and Children: While freezing winter temperatures keep many adults indoors, children may want to play outside. Each year, emergency rooms in the United States treat thousands of children for injuries related to cold weather. Click here for winter safety tips for children and families from the Department of Public Safety.
•Cold Weather Health Tips: Staying warm and dry, making simple changes in your activities, and using good judgment can help you remain safe and healthy during cold weather. Such self-help measures are not a substitute for medical care but may help you recognize and respond promptly to warning signs of trouble. These tips from the Minnesota Department of Health provide Minnesotans guidance to stay warm, avoid cold-related injuries, and more.
•Winter Driving Tips: Everyone should be cautious about traveling in extreme winter weather. Cold, snow, and ice are demanding on cars, drivers, and passengers. Most importantly, extreme winter weather can threaten your life. These tips from the Minnesota Department of Transportation are meant to help Minnesotans prepare for cold weather driving conditions.
•Fact Sheet on Frostbite and Hypothermia: Exposure to extremely cold temperatures can cause hypothermia or frostbite – with the nose, cheeks, ears, fingers, and toes most commonly affected. Everyone is susceptible, even people who have been living in cold climates for most of their lives. Follow these tips from the Department of Public Safety to avoid, identify, and treat frostbite and hypothermia.