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Dave Olson, Published August 25 2013

Hot temperatures close some Fargo schools this week

FARGO – Fargo Schools Superintendent Jeff Schatz checked out several of the district’s elementary schools on Sunday.

Temperatures inside buildings ranged from 85 to 90 degrees.

That’s too high, according to Schatz. With hot temperatures expected to continue for much of the week, he decided classes would be canceled today through Wednesday at five of the district’s elementary schools.

Affected schools include: Clara Barton, Horace Mann, Lewis and Clark, McKinley and Roosevelt.

Schatz said the district took the step to protect students and staff from excessive heat in buildings that are not fully air-conditioned.

He said families were notified by an automated calling system that sent the news to parents’ phones.

Classes began in Fargo last Thursday.

School officials will meet Monday to address how to make up the missed classes. Once that is decided, parents will be notified, Schatz said.

“We have days worked into the schedule, and there are different ways we can make that time up,” he said.

Other problems

High daytime temperatures aren’t the only problem, according to Schatz.

“The biggest thing is the evening temps are not falling below 70 or the high 60s. The schools just don’t get the chance to cool down,” he said, adding that the situation is extremely unusual.

“The normal high is 79 or 80,” he said, adding that school officials will evaluate the temperature situation Wednesday to determine whether additional cancellations will be announced.

The National Weather Service website indicates that expected high temperatures in the Fargo-Moorhead area will be in the mid-90s through Wednesday, with the high Thursday expected to be around 88. The high Friday could be in the low 90s.

Overnight lows are expected to remain in the high 60s.

“We’re always going to err on the side of safety for our students and our staff,” Schatz said. “The quality of education that goes on when it’s warm just isn’t what we’d like to see.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555