Kids probably won’t make up school days

Two days off of school due to the weather will not necessarily translate into tacking on days at the end of the school calendar, according to Superintendent Mark Bezek at a Jan. 6 meeting. 

Gov. Mark Dayton called off school statewide on Monday, Jan. 6, and many districts, including Elk River, called it off one more day due to dangerously low temperatures and windchill.

Bezek said kids probably won’t have to make it up, but noted there’s a lot of the school year remaining.

He said administrators are working on developing virtual staff development to help teachers make up the days they missed from work.

Dayton announced the Jan. 6 closure on Friday, Jan. 3, after the National Weather Service  predicted that  most of the state would experience the coldest temperatures in a decade, with lows possibly reaching 30 degrees below zero and windchills at 50 degrees below zero.

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 announcement 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 minus 26.

He did it again on Feb. 2, 1996, when air temperatures in the Twin Cities reached minus 30. It reached minus 60 below in Tower, Minn., that day.

Carlson closed schools a third time on  Jan. 16, 1997, when the windchill was -32 that morning.

“The safety of Minnesota’s schoolchildren must be our first priority,” Dayton said. “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.”

Dayton left it up to local school districts to decide if their schools should be open on Tuesday. District 728 decided to keep schools closed for Tuesday, Jan. 7, and students returned on Wednesday, Jan. 8.