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Box Elder County schools cut days short amid record heat

Posted at 9:56 AM, Sep 07, 2022

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah — As a heat wave continued to work thermometers to the bone, the Box Elder School District shortened its school days to four hours for the sixth school day in a row.

Campuses in the district were nearly empty around noon on Tuesday because of the sweltering heat.

"If you make it to noon, the kids are just darn hot, and for the teachers it’s hard to teach," said Superintendent Steve Carlsen.

Out of about 19 schools in the district, only four have air conditioning.

"There’s just not enough temperature exchange to get the buildings cool down, and that’s what’s really hurting us," added Carlsen.

Last week, after having four-hour minimum days, district officials told parents they would extend the minimum day schedule to Tuesday and Wednesday.

Temperatures hit nearly 90 degrees after just 15 minutes in the parking lot outside Box Elder High School, but Carlsen said it was even warmer inside.

"When we talk about heat, by about noon every day it really gets pretty darn close to unbearable when we’re having these record temperature hundred degree days."

While the district says it hopes to get air conditioning into schools in the future, for now, they say parents can do their part by sending students to class with water bottles, reminding them to stay hydrated, and making sure they dress in lighter clothing.

"These are your children, especially if they have a health condition, keep them home for a couple days, we’ll do everything we can to get them caught up we’ll make all the work up and that’s really important that they know that will work with them," said Carlsen.

The district is planning on returning to a full-day schedule on Thursday, but is open to making adjustments next week if the temperatures remain high.