How you can help Mexico earthquake victims

Record-breaking heat as thousands of students go back to class

SAN DIEGO -- Record-breaking heat descended upon Southern California Monday as youngsters in the San Diego Unified School District, as well as college students at San Diego State University, Cal State San Marcos and Point Loma Nazarene, went back to class.

More than 111,000 elementary, middle and high school students will start classes in San Diego.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for San Diego County's inland valleys, western foothills and deserts that will be in effect until 10 p.m. Wednesday. A heat advisory is in effect in the mountains and along the coast, where temperatures will be cooler than the rest of the county but up to three degrees above the records for late August.

Meteorologists are predicting a high of 107 degrees Monday in Ramona, which would break the previous record high of 105 in the city for Aug. 28. Highs in El Cajon and Escondido are expected to reach 102, which would match the records in both cities for the date.

And while the mercury will skyrocket Monday, temperatures are expected to be even higher Tuesday and Wednesday, with meteorologists predicting the heat to peak Tuesday for areas west of the mountains and on Wednesday farther inland.

District officials outlined several things that are new this semester, including turning Sequoia Elementary School into a visual and performing arts magnet school, establishing a STEAM cluster in Linda Vista that incorporates science, technology, engineering and mathematics into instruction in a more meaningful way, and a partnership with the Anti-Defamation League to increase tolerance at each campus.

Each school will have a wellness plan, created with parent involvement, that meets the fitness and nutrition needs of children.

At San Diego State, 11,000 new students will be welcomed to class, including 5,300 freshmen. The average high school GPA of 3.7 is the best in the history of the university, which is celebrating its 120th anniversary.

The total student body of 17,000 is the largest-ever at Cal State San Marcos, school officials said. Enrollment includes 2,500 freshman, a 17 percent increase over last year, and the 1,900 transfers are a 21 percent jump.

CSUSM is also beginning its first year as a full-fledged member of NCAA Division II for its 13 athletic teams, having transitioned over the last couple of years from the NAIA.

Point Loma Nazarene officials cautioned students to take alternate routes to campus because of "significant construction" along Catalina Boulevard. Students are urged to avoid Canon and Rosecrans streets. Suggested alternates are online.