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St. Paul, Minneapolis public schools revise their winter weather plan for 2019-2020 season

St. Paul, Minneapolis public schools revise their winter weather plan for 2019-2020 season Photo: KSTP

Updated: December 11, 2019 07:16 AM

St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) and Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) have revised their Winter Weather Plan for the coming winter season. 

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According to an SPPS release, instead of using two different procedures based on cold or snowy weather conditions, SPPS will now utilize a winter weather closure day.

The change means staff, in addition to students and families, will stay home if temperatures, wind chill, snow, ice, hazardous roads or other inclement weather conditions meet the criteria for closing. Staff previously were still required to work even if schools closed.

“This change will allow us to provide an equal measure of safety for all,” SPPS Superintendent Joe Gothard said. “We realize that everyone’s situation is unique and I want to err on the side of safety during our unpredictable Minnesota winters.”

The criteria for a winter weather closures remain the same as previous years.

School will be canceled if the expected forecast for 6 a.m. the following morning shows:

  • A wind chill of 35 degrees below zero or air temperature is 25 degrees below zero. The decision will be made by 6:30 p.m. the night before a cancellation.
  • If heavy snow and/or icy conditions make it extremely hazardous or impossible for school buses to travel their routes and for employees to get to work safely. The decision will be made by 5 a.m. on the morning of a cancellation.

In addition to that change, the decision to cancel after-school activities will now be made by noon. Afternoon Pre-K, Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) and the regular school day continues as usual, SPPS said.

For more information about the revised SPPS winter weather plan, click here

As for Minneapolis Public Schools they will likely cancel classes if the wind chill forecast for 6:30 a.m. the following day is 35 degrees below zero or colder, with winds of at least 5 to 10 miles per hour.

Also, they will close schools if road conditions are such that travels becomes too hazardous for buses and cars. MPS will consider closing school if travel delays become so great that staff cannot reach the buildings in order to teach students or students will be out at bus stops for an excessive amount of time.

This may happen if it snows 6 inches or more in 12 hours, or 8 inches or more in 24 hours. Every winter storm is different, so it is possible that classes will still be held even if snowfall reaches these limits.

MSP may also cancel school if conditions approach blizzard criteria, even if snowfall amounts are lower.

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