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Minn. Schools Facing Tough Choices During Rough Winter

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

GLENCOE, Minn. (WCCO) – As Minnesota’s wind chills continue to plunge, school districts around the state are monitoring conditions to see if they should cancel school Tuesday or have a late start.

Glencoe-Silver Lake Superintendent Chris Sanju has not canceled any days for weather this year, but the school district’s 1,700 students have had a total of six late starts or early dismissals.

He says a late start or early dismissal allows for a shortened day, but still allow the district to get the school day in.

Each district in Minnesota is required by law to have a specific number of days, which varies from district to district.

Sanju says a late start with dangerous wind chills allows kids to go to school when the sun is out and the temperatures are slightly warmer. A late start in a snow event allows plows time to clear rural roads. Another reason schools open late or are canceled in rural areas is because of blowing snow which can make it difficult to determine where roads end and begin.

“First priority is student safety,” Sanju said. “Then the goal is to have school that day.”

Krista Green, a mother of four, said she would rather see a late start than no school at all.

“As long as the roads are safe, I like to see a partial day,” said Green.

Her daughter, Becca, a student at Glencoe Jr. High agreed.

“I would rather have a partial day than make up all the work that we missed,” said Becca.

The weather has been so bad further west that school districts have had to cancel days and will need to make them up. The Montevideo School District will extend the school year until June 8, three days later than originally scheduled. The Yellow Medicine District will have school on President’s Day, the Monday after Easter and on an in-service day to make up for school days missed.

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