Operation of Schools during Hot Weather
The safety and well-being of our students and staff are a top priority. We want to make sure they are as comfortable as possible so that learning can continue. As a result, our schools have a number of guidelines in place for instructional planning during hot weather.
Instructional Program Modifications
Elementary teachers may rearrange the daily schedule so that basic skills subjects are taught at the optimal time. Recess activities are limited to quiet games that require a minimum of physical activity. Physical education activities at all grade levels are limited to less strenuous activities and/or are rescheduled to a more appropriate time.
We believe the best place for our students, even in hot weather, is in the classroom where they are learning, supervised and being a part of school activities. Modifications to our instructional plan are made to take advantage of cooler spots on schools and to minimize discomfort as much as possible. Schools know to reduce PE activities such as running, jumping, and prolonged exposure to the sun. Activities are adjusted to reduce strenuous exercises. Parents who believe their child’s health may be compromised by excessive heat have the option of keeping students home or picking them up early.
Hot Weather Guidelines for Schools
The Orange County Department of Education in collaboration with the Orange County Health Care Agency created the following guidelines for schools to increase student safety during periods of hot weather.
- When outdoors, stay in the shade whenever possible. Limit time outdoors when temperatures and UV radiation are most intense, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Ensure children are well hydrated. Provide or encourage frequent drinks to ensure adequate hydration. Plain water is the liquid of choice.
- Do not have children sitting on the asphalt.
- Check the temperature of metal and plastic playground equipment.
- Staff should be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Follow first aid procedures promptly.
- Limit strenuous activity outdoors.
- Check regularly on young children and those children who are physically challenged or in wheelchairs and those who have chronic illnesses such as asthma.
- Monitor children in wheelchairs and check the temperature of metal and vinyl parts.
- Avoid unnecessary sun exposure and use sunscreen.
A. Children should receive a 5-10 minute rest and fluid break after every 25 to 30 minutes of activity.
B. Children should receive a 5-10 minute rest and fluid break after every 25 to 30 minutes of activity. Children should be in shorts and t-shirts (with helmet and shoulder pads only, not full equipment, if worn for activity).
C. Children should receive a 5-10 minute rest and fluid break after every 15 to 20 minutes of activity. Children should be in shorts and t-shirts only (with all protective equipment removed, if worn for activity).
D. Cancel or postpone all outdoor practices/games. Practice may be held in an air conditioned space.
Children take longer to adjust to hot environments than adults do, and their bodies reach core temperature much faster. Children’s bodies have greater surface area to body mass ratio, so they absorb more heat on a hot day (and lose heat more rapidly on a cold day). Also, children have considerable lower sweating capacity than adults, and so they are less able to dissipate body heat by evaporative sweating and cooling.
Children are less likely to feel thirsty during prolonged play and exercise, and sometimes they just don’t want to be interrupted. They need to be reminded to drink water or another beverage.
Fluid breaks should be scheduled for all practices and become more frequent as the heat and humidity levels rise.