Schools Make Adjustments for Heat

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Back to school and back on the burner. Temperatures across West Tennessee soared into the triple digits Wednesday, but on school buses without air conditioning, it can get even hotter. “The temperature on the bus, when it’s sitting there, can get into the 110’s,” said Jackson-Madison County School system director of transportation, Grant Ward. “We’ve recorded these before.” Factor 30-65 kids on that bus and it becomes nearly unbearable. “Of course the tighter it gets, the more heat, and the less room for air to move,” said Ward. But school officials are doing everything they can to keep bus riders safe. “Schools are providing cups and ice water at the schools before they get on the bus,” said Ward. “And they’re doing a good job, we want to keep the kids hydrated.” They also want to keep their drivers hydrated. Driver Sheila Greer says she sometimes has breaks between routes to cool off in air-conditioned schools. “They supply drivers with bottled water,” said Greer. “Even supplying them with cool rags to just keep the driver’s body temperature down, so we won’t get overheated.” Pope Elementary School saw a high near 108 degrees, Wednesday afternoon. Teachers said that temperature is the reason the playground sits completely empty. “It’s really too hot for kids to be outside doing physical education,” said Pope Elementary physical education teacher Scott Dean. “We have been doing lower-key stuff, staying inside because it’s just way too hot to go out.” School officials say their drivers are trained to recognize heat exhaustion in students and themselves. If necessary, they can stop their bus and call for assistance.

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