SIDNEY — The Sidney City Schools’s dismissal bell rang early for the district’s students Monday and Tuesday afternoons.
“The Sidney City Schools released two hours early today (Monday) due to the extreme heat in the classrooms,” said Eric Finke, director of operations and technology. “When the temperatures reach into the 90’s and the heat index levels are also high, the learning environments in the non-air conditioned buildings are compromised.
“Safety for out students and staff is our utmost priority, and therefore the decision to release early was viewed as necessary,” said Finke.
Finke said he sent a School Messenger Broadcast to all parents Monday morning letting them know about the early release.
“We will do the same for tomorrow (Tuesday) since the temps are also going to be very high. The message will go out around 6 p.m.”
Both Sidney and Holy Angels School dismissed early on Tuesday.
Many of the school districts throughout the county have air conditioned buildings, which is a benefit to the students during the hot and humid days.
“Here at Lehman Catholic, our student’s safety and learning environment has always been and always will be one of our top priorities. We understand that our student’s learning environment plays a vital role in our student’s ability to consistently perform at high academic levels,” said Denise Stauffer, Lehman principal/CEO.
“We are blessed here at Lehman to be able keep our rooms at a comfortable temperature during these hot and humid days of summer with our HVAC system,” said Stauffer. “Keeping with our commitment to a safe and comfortable learning environment, our students are permitted and encouraged to bring water bottles to class with them. The water bottles may be refilled as often as our students wish throughout the day.
“Additionally, at the beginning of each school year we review safety and emergency protocol and procedures with our staff. As part of those procedures, the teacher is instructed to notify the office immediately if they notice any changes in their student’s appearance, behavior or attitude in the classroom, or immediately seek proper medical attention,” Stauffer said.
The two buildings in the Fort Loramie School District are also air conditioned, said Superintendent Dan Holland.
“We do not specifically have a guideline for hot/humid temperatures, but our students are allowed and encouraged to have water to hydrate during the day,” said Holland. “Both of our buildings are air conditioned which obviously helps with the comfort level on extremely warm days and allows us to keep a normal schedule without dismissing early.”
Steve Rose, Russia Local Schools superintendent, said the humid temperatures weren’t a factor in Monday’s school day as there is air conditioning throughout the building.
Aaron Moran, Versailles Exempted School District, said excessive heat issues are addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Botkins Local Schools K-12 building is also air conditioned.
“We allow our students to have plenty of water during the day. As far as early Release we have a new school with air conditioning, so for us that is not an issue at this time. Our recesses are a set limited amount of time which help with the heat,” said Principal Jeff McPheron.
Jackson Center Schools has air conditioning in part of their building.
“Part of our school is air-conditioned so if there is a need, our teachers on the cooler side of the building offer their rooms to those that may be in the heat most of the day. There are also some common spaces available in the air conditioned part,” said Superintendent Bill Reichart.
Fairlawn Local School is also air conditioned, said Superintendent Jeff Hobbs.
“With air conditioning in our entire building release for heat is most likely not going to happen at Fairlawn,” said Hobbs. “We allow our high school students to have water bottles in class and our elementary students take multiple water breaks.
“Outside recess continued as usual with students allowed to get drinks anytime they needed them. We watched our students cautiously for any signs of heat exhaustion,” Hobbs said.
The coaches are also keep an eye on the athletes during training.
“Our athletes are watched closely in outside activities. Last night (Monday) our cross country team ran inside,” said Hobbs. “Our coaches are instructed to watch for signs of heat exhaustion and we have a full-time trainer at athletic events.”
Staff at Holy Angels School is making sure their students have enough water to drink during the day.
“We have been fortunate at Holy Angels Catholic School to ensure the safety of all our children. We do allow water bottles at our students desks and allow them access to the water fountain,” said Principal Beth Spicer. “Our PE teacher, Holli Berger, has commented that she is trying to keep the children off the black top, allowing them access back inside the building if they need water.
“Monday many stayed under the shade trees, underneath the playset and the older ones found shade under the trees and along the shaded fence during recess. If needed in the future there can be activities in our gym,” said Spicer.
The school also contacted Wilson Health to learn the signs, symptoms, and suggestions to stay up to date and protect the school’s children during this weather.
“Dr. Frederick Simpson, Chief Medical Officer, gave us many guidelines and signs to watch out for. We distributed it to all our teachers,” said Spicer.
Hardin-Houston Local Schools Superintendent Larry Claypool said the district keeps a close eye on the weather conditions.
” We monitor the heat index and provide lots of opportunity for water. We allow students to come and go during recess, if they are thirsty on those really hot/humid days,” said Claypool. “We encourage hydration on the days where a heat index advisory is announced. We allow students to have water bottles at their desks and refill them when needed. Since we have a fully air conditioned facility, we will not have an early dismissal for heat.”
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook, www.facebook.com/SidneyDailyNews.