Reporting Angela Davis
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The excitement of the first day of classes for Minneapolis Public Schools came with some apprehension due to Monday’s sweltering heat.
The district got permission to begin the school year a week before Labor Day four years ago.
Most classrooms are not equipped with air conditioning.
The principals and teachers in Minneapolis did what they could to make sure students were as comfortable as possible despite the 102-degree heat index. Recess was held indoors at the elementary schools, and all after-school athletic practices were canceled.
One of the first lessons of first grade at Hiawatha Community School was how to beat the heat. Popsicles seemed to help, as well as ice cubes passed out in little cups.
Teacher Tani Langree says everyone pitched to help make her classroom bearable.
“Parents brought in fans, I brought in fans, my friend brought in ice, so we’re going to pass out ice,” Langree said.
Even teachers admit that in these conditions, it’s hard not to be distracted.
“This is horrible. It’s hard to concentrate, you know… I have them drinking lots of water so they don’t get heat stroke, so of course, they have to go to the bathroom every two minutes,” she said.
Principal Deb Regnier says teachers are on the lookout for any signs of distress due to the heat, and parents were told to dress their kids appropriately.
“[The students] are resilient, they don’t think anything of this. A lot of them don’t have air conditioning in their homes, so they’re doing a great job,” Regnier said.
School nurses are also on hand and available to check out kids with medical conditions that are aggravated by hot weather.
The heat wave continues Tuesday, so they get to do it all over again.