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CHICAGO (AP) — Schools starting the year before Labor Day are running into a problem: heat.

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As temperatures climbed past 90 in much of the Midwest last week, many schools were forced to find creative ways to cool kids down. Schools in Missouri, Minnesota and North Dakota called off class.

Chicago schools passed out water bottles, fans and wet towels as kids reported for the first day of school.

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Many districts say they’re caught in a bind: They’re under pressure to start early, but they can’t afford air conditioning to retrofit old, brick-construction buildings that retain heat.

Schools have been moving to earlier start dates because they need more time for teacher training days and testing. Holiday breaks are also longer.

That means students are more often reporting to class in August.

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