After-school activities have been canceled in Minneapolis and parents put on alert they might have to get their kids to and from school in St. Paul as the districts continue to grapple with disruptions caused by bus driver shortages and COVID-19.

Cold temperatures and a need to have buses available to take students home after school were cited by Minneapolis Public Schools in its decision to cancel Thursday's activities for students — although busing will continue for varsity athletics.

District families also were told to expect possible bus delays of 30 minutes to three hours as result of a driver shortage exacerbated by COVID-19.

On Wednesday afternoon, St. Paul families were advised to have alternate plans in place for when routes are canceled — possibly through the remainder of the school year.

It did not take long for Noelle Notermann, a parent at Galtier Community School, to be faced with the decision on how to pivot. At 7 a.m. Thursday, she was notified that her preschooler's bus had been canceled, she said. The family has one car, she added, and it's not available during the school's drop-off and pickup windows.

"Our kid's only option is us, and we can't do it," she said.

Absences will be excused for those students on the Galtier route, the message to families said. Students were being asked to do their school work on their iPads.

In its heads-up to families Wednesday, the district apologized in advance for any disruptions to family routines, saying it understood there may be inconveniences.