Schools close when it's this cold to keep both the students and staff safe, said Jennifer Lane, director of communications for Fort Dodge Community School District.
"Our concern is that you have a bus route where if you have bus trouble, then you have that time with kids sitting on a bus while you have to get another vehicle," she said. "Probably even bigger than that is the kids who have to walk to school. They don't have the bus transportation and aren't dropped off by a parent.
"The time they can be outside, with the wind chills as dangerous as they are, just is so short that we obviously don't want to put anybody at that risk."
At FDCSD, the decision to cancel was made by Superintendent Doug Van Zyle early Sunday afternoon.
"As far as I know, there's no set temperature that triggers that 'no school' call," Lane said. "It's a case by case decision that he looks at, keeping in mind the safety of all the students and our staff."
Lane said canceling for the cold is fairly unusual.
"I think it's a rarity," she said. "I was reading somewhere today that unless you're over 40 years old, you don't remember it being this cold."
Other area school cancelations as of press time included Algona, Bishop Garrigan, Clarion-Goldfield, CWL, Eagle Grove, East Sac also with two-hour late start on Tuesday as previously scheduled, Emmetsburg Public and Catholic schools, Humboldt, Laurens-Marathon, Manson Northwest-Webster, Pocahontas Area, Prairie Valley, South Central Calhoun, Southeast Webster Grand, Stratford, Webster City and West Bend-Mallard.