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Snow day relief bill for Minnesota schools passes Senate vote, House vote to come

The Minnesota House of Representatives has yet to vote on a similar bill.

Schools worried about holding makeup days well into June can breathe a little easier as the Minnesota Senate voted 61-2 to approve a snow day relief bill that aims to allow districts to waive inclement weather makeup days. 

As MPR notes, a similar bill has yet to be voted on in the House, and because the House bill only allows relief for extreme cold days in early February, the two sides will have to agree on a relief bill before it's presented to Gov. Tim Walz. 

Minnesota's winter started slowly but went berserk in February, and is on track to continue the madness in March. In the Twin Cities, a record 39 inches of snow fell in February and another 8-12 inches is forecast by the National Weather Service this weekend. 

Even more snow fell in parts of southeast Minnesota last month, not to mention a visit from the polar vortex that dropped temperatures statewide well below zero with wind chills 40-60 below zero. 

The cold snap forced schools to recognize the dangers of simply going outside, prompting three straight days of cancelations across most of the state. 

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Some districts have called off more than a week of school, with WCCO reporting at least one district has canceled school 10 times. 

Schools are required to reach a minimum number of days and teaching hours per school year, and the Senate bill is written to allow an exemption – for this year only – that counts snow/cold days as part of those requirements. 

Governor Tim Walz, a former teacher in Mankato, is on record saying he supports relief for schools this year. 

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