MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Officials for Minneapolis Public Schools say they’ve developed a contingency plan to pivot schools without air conditioning to virtual learning if need be.

In an email to parents, the district said it is prepared to move those schools to e-learning for a total of four days if heat indexes top 90 degrees for three days, 105 degrees for two days, or 115 degrees for one day.

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There are 14 schools in the district without air conditioning.

“Parents always have that ultimate decision as to whether they think it’s safe for their kids to come to school, but we’re doing everything we can,” said senior operations officer Karen Devet said.

Temperatures are forecasted to climb into the 90s on Thursday, and so far the district has not called off in-person classes in the buildings without central air. Instead, Devet says they’re working to install fans and portable cooling devices in those schools.

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“Our first goal is we need to have kids in school,” she said. “Our students have missed a lot of time over the course of the last couple of years, so we make those decisions very carefully and consider several different factors.”

Devet says the district took into account the longer school year while crafting plans to pivot online. Classes will go until June 24 this year following a weeks-long teacher strike.

“I think [the heat] is a big reason why it’s annoying that they are making school go so long into the summer,” said parent Tiffany Sather, who has a second-grader at Clara Barton elementary. “With no central air, it’s not comfortable for anybody to be here when it’s hot…I guess virtual learning is the only way to deal with the weather situation if it’s extra cold or extra hot.”

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“We’ll just make sure (our student) has cold water and wears shorts,” Sather said. “Just tell him it’s maybe going to be a little uncomfortable.”

Adam Duxter