Students in the St. Michael-Albertville School District got one more snow day on Thursday, but parents say school was called off far too late and that left many children locked out in the cold.
Students were already aboard their school buses when they got word that classes were called off, and that left many parents scrambling in a slushy mess.
In fact, school was not canceled until minutes before elementary schools in the district were scheduled to start. Superintendent Jim Behle told FOX 9 News he decided to keep school on schedule at 5:30 a.m., but he didn't how much snow would be falling in the middle of the morning commute.
By 7:20 a.m., Behle said the district decided to cancel school as buses started having trouble on the roads, but it took some time to get alerts out to parents.
Tyson Hentges, a second-grade student, was riding one of the troubled buses.
"We got stuck a few times," he recalled. "My heart was just pumping really fast."
Parents were notified by alert that school was canceled at 7:53 a.m., and the school buses were turned around to send the students back home.
Kim Szymanski told FOX 9 News she's thankful she works from home because she was surprised when her kids showed up on her doorstep shortly after leaving on the bus.
"I was pretty surprised because usually we get a phone call about 5 a.m. if school is canceled," says Szymanski "So, I was surprised they waited as long as they did."
Other parents who had already begun commuting to work weren't so lucky.
"I was trapped on not knowing where he was or what was going on," recalled Lisa Hentges, Tyson's mother. "I called the school to see if he was at school yet, and then kinds play to see if he was at Kids Play."
A message on the district told parents that if a student notified their bus driver that no one was home, the driver would take the child to the school -- but that meant Tyson had to wait at school while his mother drove back through rush hour from her job in Brooklyn Park.
"It was a very frustrating, eventful day," Lisa Hentges said. "You got to love Minnesota, I guess."
Dozens of parents and students voiced their frustrations toward the district's decision on Facebook and Twitter. Some high school students drove to school on the snow-filled roads, not knowing school was canceled until they arrived.
Other parents were concerned about young students returning home to empty or locked houses, but FOX 9 News confirmed everyone got home safely.