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When Is School Canceled Due to Weather?

With dangerous wind chills settling into Golden Valley, you may be wondering: When is it too cold to go to school?

Wind chill advisories and weather alerts usually get an eye roll out of most Minnesotans. But for high school students, bad weather means a shot at a snow day or delayed start to school.

On Friday, wind chill values in Golden Valley could drop to 25 degrees below zero. Weather service forecasters say that the temperatures are dangerous and could cause hypothermia and frostbite if you're exposed to the elements.

Robbinsdale Area School officials say that the decision to close a school or delay start times due to weather is a complex one.

In a recent letter, Superintendent Aldo Sicoli said that the decision-making begins in the wee hours of the morning.

On the district's website, Sicoli explained the process:

The district’s Executive Director of Business Services, overseeing the transportation department, contacts our managers in First Student Transportation to evaluate weather conditions and road conditions. Supervisors actually drive the snow routes to ascertain the conditions.  In the case of severe cold, buses have a harder time starting and, of course, we take into account students at bus stops. I am fully informed throughout the process. That said, we are in the business of educating students, so we try very hard not to delay or cancel school, or to close schools early.  Such a delay, early release or cancellation can create a difficult situation for our families whose parents cannot stay home from work and who cannot find childcare for their children at a moment’s notice.  However, you know your situation and your child the best, and if you choose to keep your child at home on a day when the weather has made transportation dicey, then please do so.
When deciding to delay or cancel school entirely, several factors come into play.  Bus routes begin early in the morning for our high school, with buses leaving the bus garage between 6-6:30 a.m. Therefore, the decision must occur no later than 5:30 a.m. in order for the news to be made public.  Such a decision will affect every school in the district, not just select sites.  If the decision is made to cancel school for the day, Robbinsdale Area Schools has several ways to inform families (this is in the order the work will be done):

  • The announcement will be sent to the four major TV stations (FOX – 9 News, KARE-11, KSTP Channel 5 and WCCO Channel 4)
  • The announcement will be posted on Facebook/Twitter
  • The announcement will be uploaded as a banner on all district web pages
  • We will not send a voicemail to families, as we have schools that start at widely varying times, and a family with a high school student could start their day earlier than a family with an elementary school student

If we close schools early, we will do the following:

  • There will be a Messenger call and email to all families notifying them of the early release
  • No after-school Adventure Club, after school activities, or evening programming will take place
  • The information will be placed on every page of the district website, and will be posted on Facebook

Your children are our precious resources; their education, and their safety, is at the heart of everything we do here in Robbinsdale Area Schools. 

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