How Twin Cities districts decide cold weather school closings

How cold is too cold for school? It depends on the district.

LIST: Current school closings


As the largest school district in Minnesota, with more than 240,000 residents and approximately 38,000 students, many families and businesses are affected when Anoka-Hennepin closes its schools.

If the National Weather Service issues a "wind chill warning" stating that exposed skin can become frostbitten in less than 15 minutes, then the district will likely make a decision to close. If a wind chill advisory is in effect, students who are properly dressed for the weather should be able to walk to school or wait for the bus without risking frostbite.

5:30 a.m. is the absolute final deadline for a school closings decision in Anoka-Hennepin. In 2014, Anoka-Hennepin canceled 6 days of school -- 5 for cold weather and one for snow.


Minneapolis Public Schools will generally cancel school if the wind chill for 6:30 a.m. the next day is forecast to reach -35 degrees or colder, with winds of at least 5 to 10 miles per hour. The superintendent meets with school administrators before making any closing decision. Factors considered in school closing decisions include:

- Student and staff safety

- Severity of weather

- Timing of weather

- Ability for school buses and cars to travel to and from school safely

St. Paul

St. Paul Public Schools District will generally cancel school is the air temperature is below -25 or the wind chill is below -40. A decision will be made by 6:30 p.m. the night before any cancellation. The superintendent discusses school closing decisions with experts both inside and outside of SPPS.

District 196 (Eagan-Apple Valley)

No specific policy

South Washington

District 833 has no formal policy, but does have procedures in place as to how the decision is made. If a delayed start is called, the decision will be made by 5:30 a.m.


General guidelines for cold weather closures:

-20 air temperature

-40 wind chill

But those are only part of the factors involved in making the decision. Among them are talking to other superintendasuperintendentsg if their buses will work properly. Their policy does not designate a time of morning when those readings are forecast, nor do they designate a deadline for making the decision.

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