ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - Gov. Tim Walz said Monday that he would not declare a statewide school closure because of dangerous cold weather this week, ending speculation on how the new governor would use his office’s powers.
Instead, Walz said he would leave the decision up to local school districts.
“Parents and students should pay close attention to the local news and messages from their local school district for information on school closures,” Walz said in an emailed statement. “All Minnesotans should make plans to stay safe.”
In Minnesota, governors have the power to alter the school calendar. Former Gov. Mark Dayton used the authority in January 2014, when he closed schools for one day because of winter weather.
But Walz’s office said Monday that Dayton’s decision happened under special circumstances because it was the first day back from winter break. At the time, there were concerns about reheating school buildings and that school buses wouldn’t start, Walz’s office said.
On Friday, Walz had told reporters he was leaving the door open to using the authority while instructing the state Education department to prepare guidelines for him to consider.
Temperatures are forecast to reach -20 degrees on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, with wind chills potentially reaching -50 degrees on Wednesday.