Minnesota schools adjusts as temperatures drop to dangerous lows

St. Paul Public School buses (FOX 9)

This January cold spell will bring dangerously cold temperatures to Twin Cities bus stops on Tuesday and Wednesday morning; and with it, the risk of hypothermia and frostbite for tens of thousands of kids.

"Be aware of the situation out there that it could be extremely dangerous," St. Paul Public Schools interim transportation director Carl Stroeing said.

On Monday, the Osseo school district returned from about two weeks of remote learning because of COVID-19… Mother Nature isn’t helping them get back into the swing of things, at least not when it comes to starting about 170 school buses in the morning to get 14,000 students to and from school.

"They have starting crews that arrive at about 4:30 in the morning on these cold mornings and start each bus on the fleet," Osseo Schools transportation coordinator Nick Martini explained.

St. Paul Public Schools has even more students and even more buses to worry about, "and some [school buses] fire right up in the morning depending on if they get diesel, propane, or gas. Some are really no problem, and others might take a little work," Stroeing said.

The bitter cold changes things for doctors at Hennepin Healthcare too, "I know we’re going to be busy, I know we’re going to be seeing a lot more cases of frostbite than we would normally be, so we’re prepared for it." Dr. Thomas Masters said on Monday. Dr. Masters works in Hennepin Healthcare’s department of hyperbaric medicine, and he has this advice for parents this week: "Wait out in the car with your kids instead of standing out there in the snow… you can lose fingers and toes – amputations and even more -- you can get patients that lose entire hands and feet if they have severe enough frostbite."