By Angela Davis

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many school districts across the state canceled classes because of the extreme cold, which meant getting the word out to families, so they could make arrangements. But still, school officials know that sometimes not everyone gets the message.

Last Thursday when school was closed in St. Paul, safety supervisors with the school district found about 30 kids waiting at bus stops. Because the temperature is well below zero and you can get frostbite in a matter of minutes, Guy Smith looks for students standing at bus stops when they shouldn’t be.

“Some people must not get the message or maybe the kids hear the message and they tell their parents and they don’t believe them. I don’t know,” Smith said.

Smith works as an operations coordinator in the transportation department of St. Paul Public Schools.

“Either we drive them back to their house or we just watch and make sure they get back into their house. A lot of kids are on their own. Their parents go to work,” Smith said.

The school district uses several methods to announce closings, but there are still families who don’t find out.

“I asked a young man, I said ‘you didn’t know there was no school, you know, school was closed today?’
He was like ‘nope,’ he didn’t know,” Smith said.

Even though classes were canceled, teachers and staff had to report to work Monday.

In addition to safety supervisors in SUVs, St. Paul had about 12 school buses out and 6 mini-vans with staff members searching for kids.

By 9:30 a.m., Smith got the all clear. There was no sign of anyone waiting for a school bus that wasn’t coming.

Safety supervisors in St. Paul routinely patrol neighborhood streets, watching out for situations near a school that might spell trouble. They keep an eye on student safety patrol lines and how well bus drivers are navigating their routes.


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