Cold Weather Prompts Statewide School Closures Monday

Posted at: 01/03/2014 10:48 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- The cold weather heading our way has prompted the governor to do something that hasn't been done in almost 20 years. On Monday, all public schools in Minnesota will closed.

The Logelins live only a couple blocks away from Elton Hills Elementary School, and when it's not too cold, Jennifer walks her kid there and back. "We try to walk a lot, but today I drove," she said. However, Friday temps were in the upper teens. Monday, it's a whole new ball game.

We're talking a wind chill exceeding 50 below zero. That's why today, Governor Mark Dayton ordered schools to close their doors Monday. "I appreciate their concern. If it's cold enough for it be a dangerous for our kids to walk to school, I don't have a problem with it," said Rochester parent Mike Cheney.

"It's probably best that we don't take that chance if there are kids walking to and from," said Jennifer. The statewide cancelation is all about safety. Certainly it's too cold to walk to school, but even just to waiting a few minutes for the bus to arrive can be dangerous, as exposed skin can get frostbite in a few minutes.

"We have to wait outside for the bus so even that would be a lot safer for us," said Mike.

Plus we're told with buses being idle over winter break, they may not even be all that reliable. "It can be a dangerous situation and they can stop unexpectedly and you don't want to have little ones waiting on the corner for that bus to show up,” said Minnesota's Education Commissioner Brenda Casselius.

"I think it’s the right thing to do, it’s just too cold," said Jennifer.

We haven’t seen wind chills this low since 1996, and this is the first time a Minnesota Governor has closed schools in response to cold weather since 1997.