Deciding when to cancel school for cold weather - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Deciding when to cancel school for cold weather

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In Minnesota -- a pre-emptive strike from Gov. Mark Dayton. He's already canceled classes at all public schools in the state for Monday.

Temperatures statewide are expected to rise only to the minus-teens. Dayton says the safety of Minnesota's school children is his top priority.

We've been in contact with Gov. Daugaard's office and they say school isn't typically called off statewide.

"Well Gov. Daugaard has never called off school statewide for weather reasons and as I said it would be a very unusual occurrence if it's ever happened in the state. That's always a local decision," said Tony Venhuizen with the Governor's Office.

Already Eagle Butte and Huron School Districts have cancelled school for Monday.

The Aberdeen School District Superintendent says he will be watching the weather all weekend.

So what about South Dakota's largest school district?

Parents of children in the Sioux Falls School District can expect to know if school is cancelled for Monday around 6 o'clock Sunday evening.

"When it's cold we usually look the day before and try to do it to make that decision if we can in the early evening. It gives lots of time for parents to figure out what to do," said Todd Vik, Business Manager for Sioux Falls School District.

Some other school districts in South Dakota have already called off school for Monday. However, Sioux Falls School District doesn't' want to cancel school prematurely.

"If two or three days out we always figure the minute we do that -- do it on Friday for Monday, the forecast is going to change Sunday. And you could end up with a fairly warm day and having called school off so we found that the closer you get to the day you're predicting, the more accurate the forecasts are," said Vik.

The district uses a chart provided by the National Weather Service to gauge just how dangerous the wind chill is going to be -- from there, decision to cancel school is made.

"For cold, we look at what the wind chill is doing, specifically how fast you can get frostbite if you have exposed skin. So we look in that 10 minute range and what time of the day that's going to occur during the school day. You know, is it going to be at 3 in the morning and then  cease? Is it going to warm up or is it going to be at 6, 7, 8 9 in the morning," said Vik.

Again, parents can expect to know around 6 o'clock Sunday evening if the Sioux Falls School District has cancelled school for Monday. The district will send out a phone blast, an e-mail alert if you've signed up for it or you can check the district website to find out.

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