Minneapolis, St. Paul Public Schools to close Tuesday, Wednesday

January 28, 2019 11:09 PM

With severe cold forecast for the next several days in Minnesota, Minneapolis Public Schools Monday joined a growing list of districts throughout the state to announce classes would be called off Tuesday and Wednesday.

In addition, MPS announced all district offices, including the Davis Education Center and the Student Placement Services Office, would remain closed.

St. Paul Public Schools and the Anoka-Hennepin school district announced they too would be closed Tuesday and Wednesday soon after.

Gov. Tim Walz has said he will defer to local school districts to make their own decisions on closures because those districts know best the conditions in their area and how to keep their students safe.

Minnesota schools have only been canceled statewide by the governor once in the last 20 years. That decision was made because the extreme weather was forecast for many districts' first day back following winter break - leading to concern about reheating buildings and getting school buses to start.

Governors in Minnesota have canceled class for public school students across the state four separate times over the past 25 years.

But Walz is in contact with the Department of Education as officials continue to monitor the situation. Low temperatures of -26 and -29 degrees are expected in the Twin Cities Tuesday and Wednesday with wind chills that could reach as cold -40.

"No matter how resilient the people of Minnesota may be, this weather should be taken seriously," Walz said in a statement.

"Parents and students should pay close attention to the local news and messages from their local school district for information on school closures. All Minnesotans should make plans to stay safe." 

RELATED: Districts weigh whether to call off school due to cold

ISD 622 North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale announced on Facebook Monday morning that the district would be closed both Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We're being told frostbite can happen in as little as five minutes with the wind chills that are predicted for tomorrow afternoon, and given the fact that my elementary schools are my latest dismissal, we are not comfortable with our students getting off the bus at the -40 windchill factor tomorrow afternoon," said Christine Osorio, the district's superintendent.

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Osorio said school closures also impact the school workforce.

"I am a first-ring suburb," she said. "And so, for me, if Minneapolis and St. Paul close schools, I have 1,700 employees, many of whom live in St. Paul and have children that attend that school system. So we are all interconnected, and it's very difficult to make any one decision in isolation.

"We are all kind of intertwined with each other and the decisions we make."

PHOTOS: A snowy Monday morning in Minnesota

Many others followed Osorio's including Stillwater, Roseville, Centennial, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan, Monticello, St. Cloud, Sauk Rapids, Sartell, Winona, Mankato, Brainerd and Bemidji.

The Rochester district also announced it would be closed Tuesday.

While students get a day off, some parents will be able to as well.  Those employed with just about any business in Minneapolis or St. Paul can take paid time off under the ordinance known as safe and sick time.  Minneapolis passed the ordinance in 2017 and St. Paul enacted it last year.  

Derek Haug lives in Blaine but works in Minneapolis.  Because of that, he has the option of using the benefit

"It does become difficult when we're trying to figure out who is going to stay home," Haug said "It's nice to know it's there."

RELATED: Monday in Minnesota: Minneapolis, St. Paul, other cities declare snow emergencies

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KSTP & Beth McDonough

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