MINNEAPOLIS - At least 40 Twin Cities area districts canceled school on Tuesday, but Minneapolis, St. Paul and Richfield Public Schools were among the few that stayed open.
Minneapolis Public Schools issued a statement saying closing school during severe weather is a complicated decision, emphasizing that canceling school is an exception, because many students rely on schools for meals and many families do not have alternatives for childcare.
Both the Minneapolis and St. Paul districts said the roads were safe, but any student who missed due to weather will be excused.
St. Paul Public Schools let high schools and middle schools out early at 1:15 p.m. to alleviate bus and traffic congestion as well as canceling evening activities. Minneapolis Public Schools canceled afternoon kindergarten and evening activities as well.
St. Paul Public Schools said the "decision to close the school system is no simple matter," but the district will alert families if it decides to close by 5:30 a.m., should it make the exception.
Dr. Robert Slotterback, Superintendent of Richfield Public Schools, said the decision to keep his schools open in simple. The district has only had three snow days since the 1960s and plows there started clearing paths for buses at 2 a.m.
"If we can get our buses out and get kids picked up in Richfield, we have school," said Dr. Slotterback. "If you call off, you get angry phone calls. If you don't call off you get angry phone calls."
In Minneapolis, Christopher Apgar wasn't angry the district remained open, but said he was aggravated after his 11-year-old daughter's school bus to Folwell Elementary was more than an hour late. He says it's happened on other snowy days this winter and hasn't been able to get a hold of anyone at the district when he calls with concerns, either getting a recording, or leaving a message.
"Something has to be done as far as communicating with parents, answer your calls, give some form of response, let parents of kids know if you have to get your kids in the car and take them to school in another way," said Apgar.
Minneapolis Public Schools reported about 70 percent of its morning buses were on time.