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Editorial: Back to school a ‘hot’ topic right now

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It sure doesn’t feel like it with these hotter-than-Hades temperatures, but it’s already time for back-to-school.

In a normal year, the sweltering summer would be cooling off into a crisp autumn by now, and the leaves would be just starting to turn from green to shades of bright yellow and red. There’d be that “fall feel” and smell in the air, helping kids move on from days at the lake, emotionally preparing them for the inevitable return to academic life.

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Alas, not this year. This year, the transition will be more difficult for kids, with the beaches still beckoning and visions of ice cream treats still dancing in their heads, the gleaming summer sun still streaming through classroom windows.

In one sense, it only seems fair: the season started late, and thus should end late. Or, at least, with one last big hurrah.

But while many of us are more than willing to enjoy it while we can, it doesn’t make the shift from summer break back into school any easier. In North Dakota, where the academic year has already started, some schools have had to close due to high temperatures. Can anyone recall when that happened last? Too hot for school? In North Dakota?!

Never fear, weary Perham parents. That’s not likely to happen here. Temperatures are predicted to cool down to a doable but still steaming 80-some-degree range by the start of school next week.

Remember as you drop your kids off for their first days to make sure they’re properly dressed for the hot weather. It’s tempting to let them wear those new fall clothes that they’re so excited to show off, but that’ll have to wait, especially for the younger ones who still have outdoor recess.

Remember, too, to play it safe around school buses, and to teach your kids to do the same. To sum up a story on school bus safety that ran in our special back-to-school section last week, school buses are the safest means of transportation for kids, but accidents can and do still happen. Review bus safety tips with your kids before the start of school.

For the older ones who are already behind the wheel themselves, review safe driving practices and, in particular, the dangers of distracted driving. Talking on cell phones, texting, eating, fiddling with smart phones and other distractions are the number one cause of accidents when teens are driving.

But also help your kids get excited for the new school year. Talk to them about what they’re looking forward to, and get them thinking about the things they love most – maybe it’s band, or football, or math class, or simply seeing their friends.

There’s certainly plenty to be excited about this year, with Perham public schools moving into their second year of the iPad initiative and the sports and academic teams expected to turn out top performances yet again. In addition, some new leadership and teaching staff at both the public and parochial schools promise to breathe a little fresh life into the buildings.

As with the start of every new school year, there’s a palpable feeling of anticipation of what’s to come, and the promise of a new start. Even the stifling heat can’t stifle that.

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