BACK TO SCHOOL: Students to return in sweltering heat - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

BACK TO SCHOOL: Students to return in sweltering heat

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The hottest days of summer have arrived, but summer vacation ended Sunday for thousands of Minnesota students who will head back to some sweltering classrooms on Monday.

Minnesota schools that want to start classes before Labor Day need to apply for a special waver from the state, and both Minneapolis Public Schools and the Prior Lake-Savage School District did just that.

Lena Oliver is one of 34,000 Minneapolis students who will head back to school this week, but the August start has divided her parents.

"We just didn't have time to get a lot in this year because they were playing lots of soccer," Dawn Oliver explained. "It would be nice to have an extra week."

Gregory Oliver sees it a different way.

"Kids have a lot more to learn," he said. "These girls are in an IB program, so they have to master a language, have to master computer skills. They need more time in the classroom to get all that done."

So, while the State Fair remains in full swing, in the classroom is where many kids will be -- but with temperatures topping the 90s, it may be hard to hit the books because buildings won't be air conditioned.

Adjusting to the school schedule can be a challenge by itself, but educators in the Minneapolis school system say they know the record-setting heat could be another hurdle for students because 18 schools don't have any air conditioning and 11 others only have it in portions of the building.

Stan Alleyne, spokesman for Minneapolis Public Schools, told FOX 9 News district officials have distributed bottled water for use in hot classrooms and on school buses. Floor and box fans have been plugged in, and teachers are also being encouraged to bring in their own from home. As a precaution, all outdoor after-school sports practices are canceled for Monday.

"We just know these two days are going to be a challenge," Alleyne acknowledged, "but we do have plans in place to minimize and limit students being outside and making sure they have enough hydration."

Both districts are asking parents to help students prepare with light-colored, light-weight and loose-fitting clothing.

In The Prior Lake-Savage District, only two schools -- WestWood and Hidden Oaks -- have partial air-conditioning due to renovations. The rest are fully air conditioned.

The district plans to position industrial-sized fans in the schools and extra water stations for WestWood and Hidden Oaks students. They will be available during the day and after school.

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