MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We’re still a week away from Labor Day, but many Minnesota students went back to school on Monday.
Minneapolis Public Schools and some other districts received waivers from the state to start this earl, which also means starting in record heat. The high temperature Monday is expected to get near 100 degrees and feel much hotter than that with humidity, making it uncomfortable for students at as many as 18 Minneapolis schools that don’t have air conditioning.
One of those schools is Hiawatha Elementary, where officials are taking extra precautions this week to make the students there as comfortable as possible. That includes having plenty of water bottles to keep kids hydrated, and fans in several classrooms to keep air flowing.
Minneapolis Public Schools kicked off the day by having Mayor R.T. Rybak and Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson greeting kids as they showed up.
Minneapolis is one of the shook districts that asked the state for an early start date. State law requires school to start after Labor Day, but some educators said an early start date helps achieve better preparation for tests.
Parents said dealing with the heat Monday and the rest of this week will be tough, but they came prepared.
“Well we think it’s beneficial to have additional time for instruction and we feel that’s important. Some of our students need more instructional time instruction so that’s why we added these days,” said Johnson.
“She was already pretty excited. She likes to have homework to do to keep her busy and was happy to see her friends,” said parent Reid Mathiason.
School for kindergarteners in the Minneapolis School District starts Wednesday. School officials said resources to keep students cool in the heat will be made available throughout the week.
District spokeswoman Rachel Hicks says they ask that parents prepare students for the excessive heat by dressing them in light-colored, light-weight, loose fitting clothing and ensure that they have plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
Minneapolis has 18 public school buildings that do not have any air conditioning. Eleven buildings have partial air conditioning while 36 have full AC.
School officials said Sunday that due to the expected hot and humid conditions, all afternoon activities and games for Minneapolis Public Schools are canceled.
St. Paul Public Schools don’t resume classes until right after Labor Day.