By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Schools to deal with sweltering start
System leaders move to keep students from overheating
Placeholder Image

School starts Monday, and students will be climbing onto buses during the hottest days of the summer.

The National Weather Service predicts temperatures to reach the mid 90s, and despite partly cloudy skies, the heat index will make it feel like a smothering 100 degrees.

When thousands of students in the Cobb County school district, one of the largest in the state, started back to school last week under a heat advisory, school officials decided to take extra measures.

Newton County schools followed a few days later, allowing students to bring water in plastic water bottles on the bus during their morning and afternoon rides. Normal bus rules and safety procedures require students to keep the buses clean and throw away food and drinks before getting on board.

Hall County Schools decided to implement precautions as

"Our school buses will all have water on board for students who are overly affected by extreme temperatures," Superintendent Will Schofield wrote in an e-mail to Hall County employees. "Our principals will monitor the heat, and with the support of our school nurses, ensure that indoor alternatives are available for some or all of our students on an as needed basis."

Officials are also reminding coaches of the guidelines in place for extracurricular practices based on the heat index.

"Our schools have equipment to determine these readings on a daily basis and adjust accordingly," Schofield said.
"Additionally, we encourage our students to drink plenty of water. Once an individual feels thirsty, dehydration has already begun."

Most buses do not have air conditioning, so they will operate with windows and roof hatches open to optimize air flow. System officials will continue monitoring the hot weather through August and September.

"We're being extra diligent in monitoring the heat levels and checking on the children," said Gainesville City Schools Superintendent Merrianne Dyer. "We're going to try to run the bus routes as quickly and efficiently as possible. The first day can take longer, but we have a back-up system if a student gets lost instead of keeping the buses waiting."

Parents across the state have called for classes to start after Labor Day. Schofield explained that schools starts earlier for various reasons, including the standardized testing schedules mandated by state and local governments.

"Late starts equate to later finishes in early June," he said. "It is important to remember that the average June temperature in Georgia is approximately 1.5 degrees cooler than the average temperature in August. As we often say, summers are hot in Georgia."