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Keeping Children Safe in the Cold/Weather Closures
Keeping Children Safe in the Cold/Weather Closures
Joe Meyer
Monday, January 28, 2019

Keeping Children Safe (Resources from Minnesota Department of Public Safety)

  • Stay inside. During snowstorms, blowing snow and cold can make it hard to see and easy to get lost — even close to home. Wait until the storm is gone to go outside.
  • Dress right. When going out to play after a storm, dress in snowsuits or layers of clothing, waterproof coat and boots, mittens or gloves and a hat. Avoid cotton clothing or socks as they can soak up water and offer little warmth.
  • Wear a hat. Body heat is lost through the head, so always wear a hat or hood. Cover your ears, too. They are easily subject to frostbite.
  • Wear gloves. Mittens are even better than gloves, because fingers maintain more warmth when they touch each other.
  • Use a scarf. Keep your neck warm. A scarf can also be worn over your mouth to help protect your lungs from extremely cold air.
  • Warm up. Go inside often for warm-up breaks. Long periods of exposure to severe cold and wind increase the risk of frostbite or hypothermia. If you start to shiver a lot or get very tired, or if skin turns numb or pale on your nose, fingers, toes or earlobes, go inside right away and tell an adult!
  • Stay near adults. Always play near home or where there are adults nearby who can help you. Even familiar places can look different in winter, so don’t get lost.
  • Stay away from streets and snowplows. Plows can’t slow down or turn quickly, and the snow and salt they throw is dirty and can hurt you. Cars may be sliding; they could hit you if you’re in the street.
  • Stay off of ice. Unless a lake or pond has been checked by an adult for thickness and safety, don’t go out on the ice.

Message from Governor Walz about Weather Closures

Today, (Monday, January 28th) Governor Tim Walz provided the following statement and background to news media about this week's weather forecast:

"No matter how resilient the people of Minnesota may be, this weather should be taken seriously," said Governor Walz. "Parents and students should pay close attention to the local news and messages from their local school district for information on school closures. All Minnesotans should make plans to stay safe."

Background on closures:

  • The governor defers to local school districts to make decisions about closures because they know best the conditions in their area and how to keep their students safe.
  • Minnesota schools have only been canceled statewide by the governor once in the last 20 years. That decision was made because the extreme weather was forecasted for many districts' first day back following winter break and there were concerns about reheating the buildings and that school buses wouldn't start.
  • Governor Walz is in close contact with the Minnesota Department of Education and both offices are monitoring the situation.

Cold Weather Tips and Resources

Suggested General Messages

  • Families should watch for messages from their schools or tune into local news to see if school has been canceled before going out to wait for the bus.
  • The decision to cancel school is not something schools make lightly. For some students, it may mean that they are home unsupervised. For some students, the meal they get at school is the most nutritious meal they’ll receive that day.
  • Since the 2014 closure by Governor Dayton, many schools have created cold weather policies and communicated those with families. Many schools also work with the NWS for localized weather reporting to help them make decisions.