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Dayton calls off school statewide Monday because of cold

With high temperatures across Minnesota temperatures to be in the double digits below zero on Monday, Gov. Mark Dayton took the unusual step of cancelling schools statewide.

"The safety of Minnesota's schoolchildren must be our first priority," Dayton said in a release Friday. "I have made this decision to protect all our children from the dangerously cold temperatures now forecasted for next Monday. I encourage Minnesotans of all ages to exercise caution in these extreme weather conditions."

Although the state is used to frigid winters, the expected deep freeze surpasses even what hearty Minnesotans can handle.

According to the governor's office, state law gives the governor ability to "authorize the commissioner of education to alter school schedules, curtail school activities, or order schools closed."

Despite that, the step is rare. Gov. Arne Carlson made front-page news on Jan.18, 1994, by cancelling school statewide when wind chills in some areas plunged to 80 degrees below zero. Carlson also called off classes on Feb. 2, 1996, the same day that the state registered its all-time low temperature of 60 below zero near Tower. Carlson cancelled schools for a third time on Jan. 16, 1997.

Rochester schools had decided earlier to cancel classes on Monday when the high temperature is forecast to be 15 below zero.

Superintendent Michael Munoz says school officials gave an unprecedented three-day notice. Munoz says it should give parents enough time to make other arrangements and keep their children safe.


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