How do districts help students beat the heat?

Wednesday, August 14, 2019
News 12 at 6 O'Clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- With triple-digit temperatures and students going back to school, safety is top of mind. School districts in our area are helping kids beat the heat during recess, sports practice, and on the buses.

School's back in session right in time for this dangerous heat.

Penny Jackson is the associate superintendent for Columbia County Schools. With fall sports in full swing, she's reminding coaches safety is more important than wins. ​

"I just remind them, 'Hey, the heat index is supposed to be this.’ Remind your coaches because a lot of times people get caught up in the moment,” Jackson said.

Trainers and coaches are monitoring something they call the wet bulb reading. They get the number from a NOAA website.

If it gets too hot, they hold practices inside or let the athletes take more breaks. Nurses monitor it too.

It's not just athletes. This heat is keeping kids inside for recess.

"They have board games. They do a lot of different things for activities on the inside,” Jackson said.

Schools are also paying attention to a/c on their buses. Georgia policy doesn't require air conditioning on buses, but all buses in Columbia, Richmond and Burke counties have A/C.

If it breaks, they use a backup bus. Richmond County says a broken a/c doesn't stop them from using the bus until it's fixed. They do add fans and open windows. Columbia County just added A/C in all buses last year.

"Anytime, I mean if you put 'em in a hot car, it could threaten their health,” Jackson said. “We certainly didn't want that."

Some schools are offering wet towels and extra bottles of water for faculty directing traffic. School officials are encouraging parents to send their kids with an extra bottle of water and to dress them in cool, breathable clothing.

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