ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — St. Paul Public Schools ended the school year abruptly, blaming the hot weather. Students, teachers and parents learned of the cancellation just before school got out for the day.

It’s been a tough day for Thomas McGeveran.

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“At first I was mad, then I was sad, and then I thought it was a dream,” Thomas said.

The fifth grader says students at J.J. Hill Montessori first cheered when they heard school was ending days early. Thomas said it quickly turned to tears.

“It started with some people, and then it spread. And then by the end everybody was just, you know, crying hard,” he said.

Parents, including Bill McGeveran, are frustrated the district didn’t have a better plan after a tumultuous year.

“I got the phone call from the district 10 minutes before my son walked in the door crying,” Bill said. “Kids like stability and predictability, and this has been anything but.”

(credit: CBS)

Thomas’ older brother Nick is a junior at Central High School.

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“It was very unexpected, and I think we didn’t have like a proper last day of school last year either, so it’s just kind of two like anti-climatic ends in a row,” Nick said.

These students say they’ve learned to be resilient during the pandemic.

“Learning to be flexible was like almost what we learned more in school,” Sadie Woolman-Schlukebier said.

WCCO was told schools were hot, with students sweating, experiencing heat exhaustion and fainting. Without air conditioning, fans weren’t cutting it. There’s some understanding, but people wish there was more warning.

“It still would’ve been hard, but it wouldn’t have been like, ‘Well, I guess this is it,'” Thomas said.

A teacher told WCCO she was grateful to not put students’ health and safety at risk with this heat, but says it’s difficult to not say goodbye in person for yet another year.

We’re told buildings will be open this week and again Monday for students to pick up and drop off materials.

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On Monday, Minneapolis Public Schools announced that 15 public schools in the city will switch to distance learning from Tuesday to Thursday.

Jennifer Mayerle