School administrators in the western Nebraska town of Alliance decided to send students home early after local forecasters predicted temperatures in excess of 90 degrees. Some classes in the 1,600-student district are held on the third floor, and temperatures rise when students fill the room.
"It can get uncomfortable even when the temperatures are in the upper 80s," superintendent Troy Unzicker said.
Minneapolis students had to go to school all day, but administrators canceled after-school activities and distributed 750 cases of water to schools. Officials also sent industrial fans to the 18 buildings that lack air conditioning, district spokeswoman Rachel Hicks said. Parents were advised to dress their kids in light clothing, while staffers watched for any symptoms of heat-related illnesses.
In Des Moines, organizers of a downtown farmers market set for Wednesday postponed the event out concern over the extreme heat
The Iowa Department of Public Health issued a statewide advisory for vulnerable populations, including young children and the elderly. In some cases, the heat can become so extreme that sweating isn't enough for people to lower their body temperatures, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk said.
"Especially when the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly," she said.