To protect Minnesota schoolchildren from forecasted dangerously cold weather, Governor Mark Dayton announced today that all of the state’s K-12 public schools will be closed next Monday, January 6th. The National Weather Service predicts that most of the state will experience the coldest temperatures in a decade next Monday, with lows reaching -30 degrees and wind chills predicted to reach as low as -50 degrees. High temperatures from International Falls to Rochester are forecasted to be only -15 degrees.
“The safety of Minnesota’s schoolchildren must be our first priority,” said Governor Dayton. “I have made this decision to protect all our children from the dangerously cold temperatures now forecasted for next Monday. I encourage Minnesotans of all ages to exercise caution in these extreme weather conditions.”
The decision to close schools across the state was announced today in order to give school administrators, teachers, and parents sufficient time to plan for these closures. The Minnesota Department of Education will be coordinating with school districts throughout the day to notify the public about Monday’s school closings.
“Children's safety is always our top priority, and as a former superintendent, I know these are never easy calls,” said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “I want to thank Governor Dayton for putting our kids’ safety first, and am relieved parents won't have to worry about sending their children out in the dangerous cold on Monday, but can instead keep them home, safe and warm."
State law provides the Governor of Minnesota authority to “authorize the commissioner of education to alter school schedules, curtail school activities, or order schools closed.” The full statute can be found here.
Cold Weather Safety Tips
Knowing that dangerous weather conditions will persist throughout the weekend and into early next week, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation have provided the following cold weather safety tips for Minnesotans of all ages:
- Winter Safety Checklist for Families and Children – While freezing winter temperatures keep many adults indoors, children may want to play outside. Each year, emergency rooms in the United States treat thousands of children for injuries related to cold weather. Click here for winter safety tips for children and families from the Department of Public Safety.
- Cold Weather Health Tips – Staying warm and dry, making simple changes in your activities, and using good judgment can help you remain safe and healthy during cold weather. Such self-help measures are not a substitute for medical care but may help you recognize and respond promptly to warning signs of trouble. These tips from the Minnesota Department of Health provide Minnesotans guidance to stay warm, avoid cold-related injuries, and more.
- Winter Driving Tips – Everyone should be cautious about traveling in extreme winter weather. Cold, snow, and ice are demanding on cars, drivers, and passengers. Most importantly, extreme winter weather can threaten your life. These tips from the Minnesota Department of Transportation are meant to help Minnesotans prepare for cold weather driving conditions.
- Fact Sheet on Frostbite and Hypothermia – Exposure to extremely cold temperatures can cause hypothermia or frostbite – with the nose, cheeks, ears, fingers, and toes most commonly affected. Everyone is susceptible, even people who have been living in cold climates for most of their lives. Follow these tips from the Department of Public Safety to avoid, identify, and treat frostbite and hypothermia.