Walz said districts made right decision on closure on their own

January 29, 2019 06:34 PM

Minnesota governor Tim Walz said Tuesday afternoon he would consider ordering schools to close statewide because of severe winter weather. 

But he said he did not have to do so this week because school districts made the decision on their own, and they "know best" about local needs.

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He said he is getting updates on the situation every two hours and knows what is happening with the weather conditions and the individual school districts.

Walz made the remarks prior to visiting with children at "People Serving People" in Minneapolis.

They came as the forecast deep freeze arrived in Minnesota, with temperatures expected to drop to near -30 degrees Tuesday and Wednesday and a wind chill warning was in effect.

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

Already Monday, districts around the state had announced they would be closed Tuesday and Wednesday - including Minneapolis Public Schools, St. Paul Public Schools and the Anoka-Hennepin school district.

Walz had said he would defer to local school districts to make their own decisions about how to keep their students safe.

"In many cases these local officials know best," Walz told reporters Tuesday.

"One of the things I'm concerned about is when you close a school, sometimes that is the place of warmth and food that is not available elsewhere...but we're certainly monitoring it."

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Walz first addressed the issue in a statement released on Monday.

"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." 

Gov. Arne Carlson ordered the state's schools closed on several occasions during the 1990s. And Gov. Mark Dayton did so in January of 2014.

Check out temperatures around the state

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.

On Tuesday, Walz repeated his warning to all Minnesotans to be careful in the cold weather.

"Tonight's a dangerous night," he said. "Tonight and tomorrow are dangerous and we can't stress that enough."
 

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Tom Hauser

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