SCHOOL CLOSINGS: Minnesota schools mum on Monday decisions - KMSP-TV

SCHOOL CLOSINGS: Minnesota schools mum on Monday decisions

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  • Are school weather closures cutting classroom hours?

    Are school weather closures cutting classroom hours?

    Thursday, January 23 2014 6:22 PM EST2014-01-23 23:22:16 GMT
    The cold temperatures gave students across the metro another day off on Thursday, making for yet another child care headache for parents -- but what will all the winter days off mean at the end of the school year?
    The cold temperatures gave students across the metro another day off on Thursday, making for yet another child care headache for parents -- but what will all the winter days off mean at the end of the school year?
WACONIA, Minn. (KMSP) -

With more subzero temperatures in the forecast, many parents are wondering if they should plan to make child care arrangements in case schools close again -- but officials are keeping quiet for now.

Friday will bring a quick reprieve from the bone-chilling cold that settled into the metro area this week, but the mercury is expected to take a dive back below zero on Monday.

For some parents, that could create a spontaneous child care dilemma if schools opt to close once more, but Fox 9 News couldn't find any school leader who was willing to make the call on Thursday night.

If the forecast turns out to be accurate, superintendents across the state will face a big question after the weekend -- keep school open or opt to stay closed to keep kids safe and warm?

On Thursday, the state's largest school district -- Anoka-Hennepin -- opted to keep schools closed -- but others, like Waconia High School, did not. That decision didn't sit well with some parents.

Although there's certainly criticism of District Superintendent Nancy Rajenen's decision to keep classes running amid the frigid cold, others are also praising her for keeping students on schedule and avoiding any disruption to the school year.

According to Rajenen, there is no official district formula that leaders turn to when making the difficult decision to shutter their school due to weather. Ultimately, she says it just comes down to safety.

"Our situation is very different from other suburban districts," she said. "We have virtually no walkers. All our students are on buses."

The superintendent of Anoka-Hennepin schools, Dennis Carlson, had a different scenario before him when he decided Wednesday that a Thursday closure was in order. He told Fox 9 News the district doesn't take the decision to close lightly, and said he was focused on giving parents time to prepare.

"In our district, we're seeing a lot of families qualify for reduced or free cost lunch so when they're expecting their child to be fed at school and they're not, that puts another worry on them," he explained.

Statewide, most superintendents conduct a risk analysis and focus on questions like:

- What are the chances of frostbite?
- Are the roads too icy?
- Will the school buses run reliably?

Although no district is willing to predict how Monday morning will play out, one thing is certain -- parents hope they get enough of an advance warning to prepare.

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