Safety is our first priority in extreme winter weather

The safety of all our students is the first priority when determining if schools should stay open in extreme winter weather.

The decision to close school is a serious one, and it affects many working families who would have to take a day off of work or find day care on short notice. Some families do not have these options and their children may be left home alone. Often, children are more at risk when we close school. As the largest school district in Minnesota, with more than 240,000 residents and approximately 38,000 students, many families and businesses are affected when Anoka-Hennepin closes its schools.

Where can I get information on school closings due to weather?

The district will post information about school closings/delayed start times through a variety of communication vehicles. In the list below, the first six communication vehicles are the quickest ways to receive such information.
  • District and school websites. 
  • District and school social media pages (Facebook and Twitter). 
  • Backpack Online e-newsletter. 
  • Push notification from the Anoka-Hennepin mobile app (Apple and Android).
  • Coming soon: text message from AHlert system
  • Dial the district office at 763-506-1000 or any other Anoka-Hennepin phone number to hear a recording. 
  • Media outlets including WCCO, KSTP, Fox 9, Kare 11, Northwest Community TV, WCCO radio and Star Tribune newspaper. 
Those responsible for activities scheduled in schools over the weekend determine whether or not an activity will be held if weather is a concern.

How cold does it have to be to close school?

In making this decision, district officials rely on the National Weather Service's warning system. If the National Weather Service issues a "wind chill warning" stating that exposed skin can become frostbitten in less than 15 minutes, then the district will likely make a decision to close. If a wind chill advisory is in effect, students who are properly dressed for the weather should be able to walk to school or wait for the bus without risking frostbite.

What if I am concerned about the weather and school is in session?

In case of very extreme winter weather, parents/guardians have the final decision on whether or not to send their children to school. If school is open, students are expected to attend. However, if parents/guardians they feel their children would be in danger they can choose to keep them home. The absence will be excused if the parent/guardian calls to report it prior to the start of school. If the school is not contacted, the student will not receive an excused absence. Students who are already in school will not be excused if they choose to go home.