The National Weather Service is predicting that most of the state will experience the coldest temperatures in a decade with lows reaching -30 degrees and wind chills predicted to reach as low as -50 degrees.

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ST. PAUL, Minn. - School districts that were contemplating a plan of action to deal with Monday's predicted sub-zero highs no longer have to make a decision.

The governor made it for them.

Governor Mark Dayton ordered all K-12 public schools closed Monday to protect Minnesota school children from forecasted dangerously cold weather. The National Weather Service is predicting that most of the state will experience the coldest temperatures in a decade with lows reaching -30 degrees and wind chills predicted to reach as low as -50 degrees. High temperatures from International Falls to Rochester are forecast to reach only -15 degrees.

"The safety of Minnesota's schoolchildren must be our first priority," said Governor Dayton. "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."

The decision to close schools across the state was announced Friday in order to give school administrators, teachers, and parents sufficient time to plan for these closures. The Minnesota Department of Education will be coordinating with school districts throughout the day to notify the public about Monday's school closings.

A Minnesota Governor has not ordered schools closed across the state since Arne Carlson did it on January 16 of 1997. Carlson also ordered schools closed statewide on February 2 of 1996, when air temperature near Tower reached -60, and on January 18 of 1994 when morning temps registered near -30.

"Children's safety is always our top priority, and as a former superintendent, I know these are never easy calls," said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. "I want to thank Governor Dayton for putting our kids' safety first, and am relieved parents won't have to worry about sending their children out in the dangerous cold on Monday, but can instead keep them home, safe and warm."

State law provides the Governor of Minnesota authority to "authorize the commissioner of education to alter school schedules, curtail school activities, or order schools closed." The full statute can be found here.

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