BACK TO SCHOOL: Fans, ice water brought for first day - FOX 10 News |

BACK TO SCHOOL: Fans, ice water brought for first day

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Students in the Minneapolis Public Schools and Prior Lake-Savage School districts were back in the classroom on Monday, but record heat made for a pretty uncomfortable first day.

Shaved ice is normally served up at the Minnesota State Fair, but first-grade teacher Tani Langree brought her kids the frozen favorite to help her kids keep cool despite the triple-digit temperatures.

"It's horrible. It's hard to concentrate," Langree conceded. "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."

Just down the hall, another frozen treat was being handed out to first-grader Lily Harrison.

"When I had that Popsicle, I felt much better, but I'm still a little sweaty," she said.

The water bottles were all lined up at the Hiawatha school, and 20 cases of bottled water were brought in for any students who forgot to bring their own.

Fan after fan was also brought in to the 18 school buildings without air conditioning in Minneapolis. Even so, many parents wondered why school even started at all with the excessive heat warnings in place.

"What we do know is many of our families and students don't have air conditioning at home. We do know that we have the students in front of caring adults," Minneapolis Public Schools Associate Superintendent Stephen Frisk told FOX 9 News. "Monitoring them, keeping them safe, making sure they are hydrated is a better situation for most of our kids. That's what we believe."

At the two schools in the Prior Lake-Savage School District that also do not have air conditioning, four portable air conditioning units were brought in -- along with 1,100 bottles of water and coolers. Yet, even those measures couldn't cut the misery for some of the kids.

"I'm very hot and I wish we would just not be in school anymore," Rachel Benedix, a middle school student at Hidden Oaks, admitted. "It's too hot."

The temperature in Emily Albrecht's English classroom registered in the 80s, but she's still trying to teach through it.

"I think [the heat] will wear on them eventually, but I'm trying to approach it with humor and trying to be light about it," she told FOX 9 News.

Although several students required treatment for heat-related problems in the Minneapolis Public Schools system, district officials plan to continue with classes on Tuesday; however, all outdoor after-school athletics practices will be canceled for the second day in a row.

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