www.baltimoresun.com/news/wsbt-massive-heat-affects-schoolkids-20130910,0,7393068.story

baltimoresun.com

Mercury reaches all-time Sept. 10 high, affects schoolkids

By Kelli Stopczynski (kstopczynski@wsbt.com)

WSBT-TV

6:19 PM EDT, September 10, 2013

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They say records were made to be broken, but it took awhile to top this mark.

Heading into Tuesday, the hottest it had ever been in South Bend on September 10 was 96° way back in 1897.

116 years later, we hit an all-time high for this date of 97°, according to WSBT Chief Meteorologist Paul Emmick.

Tuesday’s brutal combination of heat and humidity forced several local middle and high schools to cancel sporting events and practices. Many school corporations told WSBT they follow Indiana High School Athletic Association guidelines pretty closely.

Those guidelines say “exertional heatstroke is the leading cause of preventable death in high school sports."

Students at some of the area’s larger school corporations, including School City of Mishawaka, South Bend Community Schools and Penn Harris Madison had air conditioned classrooms Tuesday, but St. Joseph public elementary schools in Berrien County do not.

However, students at E.P. Clarke Elementary know learning goes on even when the temperature goes up.

“Some of the rooms [where] there’s no airflow are not fun, but most of the classrooms weren’t too bad,” said Clarke parent Mindi Mach.

Administrators sent notes home to parents about the heat, explaining that kindergarten through fifth graders are allowed to keep water bottles at their desks and encouraging students to wear cool, lightweight clothing.

Parents dropped off extra fans to help keep kids cool.

Teachers took students out of hot classrooms into an air conditioned room for some activities.

 “I don’t think there’s a lot more we can do with Michigan summers. It’ll be 50 in a couple days, right?” Mach laughed.

“I just think keeping the parents informed, [school leaders have] definitely expressed concern for their safety and they always look out for that as their primary concern,” added Clarke parent Elizabeth Voglewede.

Some 20 elementary schools in Naperville, Ill. near Chicago, closed Tuesday because they did not have air conditioning. But parents in St. Joseph told WSBT they trust their school’s decision to stay open.