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School Make-Up Days An Uncertainty For Some Districts

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - The extremely cold weather means more days off for students, and more headaches for parents and schools.

Tuesday marks the fifth time many schools have closed this month, including a rare, statewide shutdown by Governor Mark Dayton.

For Marisa Lee's children, Iris and William, it's starting to feel like these cold, school-free days are becoming the norm.

"They are really excited, of course. They're loving all the days off," Lee said.

While they happily enjoyed another day away from school, Marisa worries that all the time will throw off their schedules.

"It's been really hard because every week they've had a cancellation," she said. "It's really hard to get them back in the routine every week."

Iris is a 3rd grader and William is a kindergartner in the Anoka-Hennepin School District. So far, their district has no plans to make up the missed days.

And neither does St. Paul Public Schools, where staff members, like music teacher Deanna Carruthers, are still working - even if students are not in the building.

"We'll continue to work on our lesson plans and develop some more ideas for concerts and things like that for the kids," Carruthers said.

But the Minneapolis Public School District is another story. On Monday, they announced two make-up days for Feb. 14 and March 28. And it's possible other districts could follow.

Anoka-Hennepin spokesperson Mary Olson says this string of canceled school days is very rare.

"I mean, five days in a decade is even a lot. But in a single school year it's really unusual," Olson said.

She says the district will review whether or not make-up days are needed later in the year.

One thing they know for sure is that any time the wind chill gets this cold in the future, school will be canceled. The worry is for the students who walk to school or wait for the bus.

"For them to stand out there in 44-below wind chill is just not be safe," she said.

There is also concern for students from low-income families, who depend on schools for both breakfast and dinner.

In Anoka-Hennepin, food shelves are actually located at most schools. The district is getting the word out to those families so their kids can still get a decent meal when school is canceled.

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