Parents with kids in Saint Paul Public Schools got calls Monday evening advising them to prepare their students for high heat.
"Please dress children in lightweight clothing and you can provide them with a chilled neckband or washcloth. Some schools do not have air conditioning, so fans will be used in hallways and classrooms," the message said.
In fact, approximately two-thirds of Saint Paul Public Schools are without air conditioning. One teacher at Capitol Hill Magnet School has been documenting the rising temperature throughout the day. At 3:28 p.m. he tweeted a picture of a thermometer in his classroom that read 100 degrees.
Saint Paul Public Schools declined to comment on the matter, saying that district leaders and schools are taking the heat and its effects very seriously.
In Minneapolis, 14 out of 70 schools are without air conditioning or are poorly air-conditioned. Minneapolis Public Schools Chief Operations Officer Karen DeVet said the district is working methodically to equip the remaining schools with air conditioning.
But she admits some staff have voiced concerns, "and we just encourage them to take care of their own health and well-being, and if they find that they cannot be physically in the space then that's an individual decision that they need to make."
DeVet added parents have leeway as well.
"Knowing that they are coming to a non-air conditioned site, if they have the resources, and would like to keep their children home due to the heat, as long as they follow attendance protocols, those absences for students are excused," she said.
The school year for both Saint Paul and Minneapolis School districts ends June 8.
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Meanwhile, drivers on Twin Cities roads may notice an increase in pavement buckling, particularly in the North Metro area. MnDOT spokesperson Judy Jacobs said the transportation agency attempts to factor in expansion and contraction when building roadways. But older pavement is still susceptible to extreme temperature changes.
"What happens is the sun heats the pavement, and then the pavement expands or buckles," Jacobs said. "Blacktop we find is more flexible, so it doesn't usually blow up, but sometimes where blacktop meets concrete there's more of an opportunity for something like that to happen."
Jacobs advises drivers to avoid driving over buckles in the pavement. She said they should change lanes when it is safe to do so, and call 911 to let law enforcement know where the problem is.
Jacobs said road buckling is such a safety hazard that MnDot will pull work crews off of other projects to deal with the situation immediately.
While many people are finding relief from the heat in their air-conditioned homes, there are approximately 5,000 homeless people in the Twin Cities. Brian Molohon with Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities says normally shelters require clients to leave during the day.
"Ideally we'd encourage them to be out looking for work, going to the library, doing something to better themselves," Molohon said. "Well, when it's bitter cold or the extreme heat, then people can stay on campus where it's air-conditioned, have access to water, and can just be somewhere where it's safe."
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, confusion, fainting and nausea. Untreated heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which can damage the brain, heart and kidneys.