Schools weigh cold-weather cancellations, delays - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Schools weigh cold-weather cancellations, delays

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

As we head into the deep-freeze this weekend, some are wondering if area schools will be in session on Monday. But how is that decision made?

On Friday, the Minnesota governor announced classes would be canceled statewide Monday due to low temperatures, and a few schools have already called off in Iowa, including Charles City.

In the Cedar Valley, temps are predicted to dip down to 50 below zero, including wind chill.

Waterloo Schools Superintendent Dr. Gary Norris said before he cancels school, he considers a few things -- if the diesel schools buses can run safely, and if temps (including wind chill) are in the danger zone, where frostbite can harm kids is just 15 minutes.

"I think it's important for people to remember that we're here to make sure kids learn as much as they can in a given year," Norris said. "But in doing so, we have to keep student safety first and foremost."

Norris said he is waiting to make the call until early Monday morning, around 5:30. He said he has been burned before by making calls too early.

We checked with the Iowa Department of Education about the statewide outlook.

"There’s no mechanism in the law that allows the state to close all public schools because of severe weather," said Staci Hupp, Communications Director for the Department of Education. "School closings are a local decision."

Though he's reserving judgement, Norris said at the very least he thinks a delay is likely for Monday. He also reminds parents that when it comes to their children's safety, they have the final say. Parents have the right to call the school and keep their child home if they believe conditions are unsafe.

For the current list of closures, click here.

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