Not too cool for school; despite frigid temps, doors remain open - KMSP-TV

Not too cool for school; despite frigid temps, doors remain open

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Anoka-Hennepin, the state's biggest school district canceled classes four times in January due to extreme cold temperatures. With wind chill ranges from 28 to 39 below zero the district made the decision on those individual days to err on the side of caution and hundreds of districts followed suit. Every district has their own cold weather policies, but according to Anoka-Hennepin Superintendent Dennis Carlson, working with statistics and the National Weather Service is the rule of thumb.

"The window we are looking for is we want to be able to have our 30,000 students that stand at a bus stop, we want to make sure that they don't get frostbite within 15 minutes," said Anoka-Hennepin Superintendent Dennis Carlson. "We want to be able to serve those students and get them on our busses in that 10-15 minutes but we don't like to be so tight that if the bus comes late at all they're going to get frostbite."

Fast forward to this morning when the wind chills ranged from -25 to -35 a very cold morning, but not cold enough to fit in the 15 minute frostbite threshold.

"Our criteria is an agreed on with the school board," Carlson said. "We wanted it to be very clear. We've not changed that criteria during that time and we still have the same criteria today as we did any other time. If it would have been in that 40 below criteria we would have closed school."

A great discussion broke out on facebook regarding the non-closure and comments ranging from "suck it up, it's Minnesota" to "If parents made their kids wear jackets, gloves and scarves they wouldn't have had to cancel any days".

Join the discussion here on Facebook

When students returned to class following the winter break, they were met with a negative 40 degree day which prompted Governor Mark Dayton to force all schools to close their doors throughout the state. Anoka-Hennepin closed schools the following day as well due to the cold. Their protocol is to make the call to close between 4 and 5 a.m. but they made the decision a full day in advance which has caused some confusion as to when a district calls off school and when they don't.

"We wanted to give parents an early warning because it was the first day back from school after two weeks off. Calling that first day gave the whole state early notification they were not going to have school on Monday. The problem for us was Tuesday we hadn't had school yet, we don't have the communication going with the parents that we want to so we called that Tuesday a day early to let parents know get child care and be prepared for that," Carlson said. "The problem with that because it is something that we never want to do because it hurts our consistency, that morning if we would have made the decision at 5 to 5:30 a.m. we would have held school."

January Temperatures (Wind Chill) School Closures: (Anoka-Hennepin)

January 6: -48 (Governor Dayton ordered closures)

January 7: -28

January 23: -23

January 27: -39

January 28: -29

February 27: -25 to -35 (Wind Chill advisory)

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