It's official: Minnesota schools that shut down during this year's relentless run of snow and cold won't have to make up for missed days of classes.
Gov. Tim Walz on Monday signed into law a bill known as the "Snow Day Relief Act," granting local school boards the right to count days canceled for health and safety concerns as instructional time for purposes of meeting state regulations. Backed by lawmakers from both parties, the DFL governor said the bill is a reflection of compromise and consideration of all of the people affected by the run of school closures this year.
In addition to giving school districts flexibility in scheduling, the law also includes a measure aimed at helping hourly school workers, like custodians, cafeteria staff and classroom paraprofessionals. Districts that opt to count missed days as instructional time instead of making them up must offer additional hours or pay to workers who missed shifts on canceled days.
"I do think the tone that was set here was: that we respect the employees in our schools," Walz said, adding that the law also indicates that lawmakers trust local school administrators to make decisions about students' safety.
School districts will be required to report the number of missed days they intend to count toward instructional requirements to the state Department of Education. The law applies only to the current school year.