Weather Alerts

COLD CANCELLATION: Rare Decision For Schools

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Plenty of school kids across the state will be spending the day inside on Monday. Dozens of school districts called off classes due to the cold.

Parents are used to districts cancelling school because of the snow but the cancellation due to the cold has taken some school districts by surprise.

Come January, we Iowans are used to winter but this cold is ridiculous.

It’s crazy enough that temperatures are the reason for a statewide "cold day” in Minnesota.  Classes there were cancelled not for a snow day but a cold day.

It has people talking on social media, questioning its legitimacy and wondering if schools in Iowa should do the same.

Phil Roeder with the Des Moines Public Schools said cold days are rare but real.

“It’s only the second time since the turn of the century since we've had a cancellation due to the temperature," Roeder said.

The last time Des Moines Schools were closed due to brutal wind chills was in 2009. It was around the same time for West Des Moines schools, according to Elaine Watkins-Miller.

“We also have cancelled in 2010 for cold weather, since then we have not since that reason," she said.

When it gets this cold, districts turn to the National Weather Service to help make the decision. Then it's a race to see who calls off school first.

“We do have our own procedure but we do consult with other schools to see what they are doing,” Watkins-Miller said.

The metro schools didn't waste any time but Des Moines was the last big district to cancel. Unlike schools in Minnesota, area schools districts didn't want to cancel school prematurely.

“Forecasts are not are not perfect and I think anyone that`s spent any time in Iowa or in the Midwest knows that`s the case,” Roeder said.

Now whether or not kids use the "cold day" wisely, that's up to them.

“We do have finals come up this week so we hope students use this time to study extra,” Watkins-Miller said.

The dangerous wind chills are expected to last until Tuesday afternoon.

Representatives from the Des Moines Public School District said it will look at Monday afternoon's forecast to determine if they will need to cancel or delay classes Tuesday.