MIAMI COUNTY — While students have gone back to school, hot summer weather persists. In Tipp City, where some classrooms are not air-conditioned, elementary students were sent home early on Tuesday.
Tipp City Superintendent Gretta Kumpf said the combination of heat, humidity and older buildings led the district to close Nevin Coppock and Broadway elementary schools two hours early on Tuesday and Wednesday. Both buildings are not air-conditioned.
When it comes to cancelling school or releasing students early, Kumpf said the district considers not just temperature, but also the heat index. Kumpf also noted that the buildings had been closed up during the long holiday weekend, making them more difficult to cool.
“We try to make the best judgement based on all those pieces combined,” Kumpf said.”I go out to the buildings and see how it feels and observe the impact in the classrooms.”
Temperatures reached 90 degrees in the county on Tuesday, with a heat index of 96 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. The heat index is calculated by combining air temperature and relative humidity.
The National Weather Service website explains that the human body feels warmer in humid conditions because sweat can’t evaporate and keep the body cooler. The higher the heat index, the harder it is for the human body to regulate its temperature.
The National Weather Service issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook statement Tuesday, predicting hot and humid weather through Thursday.
The district announced that Nevin Coppock and Broadway students will be released two hours early again on Wednesday.
Kumpf said the district will notify families of any early dismissals or school closures by a One Call, as well as updates to the district’s website, Facebook and Twitter.
She thanked the district’s transportation staff for their hard work and accommodating the changing schedule.
Troy City Schools
Despite the heat, Troy City Schools students remained in their classrooms all day Tuesday.
Superintendent Chris Piper said he’s reviewed information from the Mayo Clinic, the Occupational Health and Safety Organization (OSHA), the Ohio Department of Education, the National Weather Service, the Centers for Disease Control and health care providers and learned that “there is no specific guidance for schools regarding heat.”
“It appears that there is no specific safety concern as long as students aren’t involved in strenuous physical activity and we use some common sense measures to keep students and staff as comfortable as possible,” Piper said. “The main prevention to heat exhaustion is staying hydrated and being aware of the warning signs, which I’ve shared with the nurses and all staff members in each building.”
He noted that heat is a particular concern for children under 4 and adults over 65, but not for healthy school-age children or adults.
Piper said his district also uses the National Weather Service heat index guide. The guide classifies conditions in four categories: caution, extreme caution, danger, and extreme danger. Exterior temperatures in Miami County were in the “extreme caution” category on Tuesday.
“We haven’t entered the danger zone yet and I don’t think we are forecast to, but we will continue to monitor conditions,” he added.
Piper said he spent time in two of the district’s elementary schools on Tuesday to experience conditions firsthand. On the top floor of Forest Elementary, the temperature reached 91 degrees with 52 percent humidity.
“I did see students and staff members who were hot and uncomfortable, but they were not in any kind of danger,” he said.
The district opened classroom windows and doors early Tuesday morning and turned on fans in an effort to draw in cooler air. Piper said the schools are encouraging students to carry water bottles and are allowing frequent bathroom breaks. Teachers have also been encouraged to set up additional fans and find alternative classroom settings, like outside in the shade.
Piper also thanked staff for their hard work and dedication to students in difficult working conditions. Late Tuesday afternoon, Piper released a One Call Now for a two hour early dismissal for the entire district.
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