Heat Guidelines and Procedures

Slippery Rock Area School District

HEAT GUIDELINES AND PROCEDURES

2019

 

Purpose

The Slippery Rock Area School District is committed to protecting the health and safety of our students and staff. These guidelines are meant to provide a decision-making structure to promote student and staff safety when the outside local weather is exceptionally warm.  It is important to note that any parent who feels their child is particularly susceptible to health issues brought on by excessive heat in non-air conditioned facilities may keep their child at home.  Instances such as these will result in an excused absence when an appropriate excuse is provided by the parent upon the child’s return to school.

 

Indoors:

Indoor temperatures can sometimes exceed the outdoor temperature. Two of our school buildings (Moraine Elementary School and the Middle School) are outfitted with air conditioning. For these buildings, the temperature regulation allows for the students and staff to remain in the normally scheduled classroom space.  For those buildings not equipped with air conditioning (Area Elementary School and the High School), there may be days when staff need to take measures to provide for an environment more conducive to learning.  In the event that Moraine or the Middle School’s HVAC system is not functioning properly, these buildings are to follow the guidelines listed below, as well. 

 

Guidelines for Indoor Activity

The following measures can be taken in instances where some inside classrooms meet a level of discomfort which deter from the learning process:

 

  • Turn off unnecessary electronics to reduce heat.
  • Encourage wearing light-colored, light-weight, loose-fitting, single layer, absorbent clothing.
  • To assist in keeping the classroom temperature comfortable, keep windows and doors open with at least one fan moving air throughout the room.
  • Alternative areas located on the lower or ground level of the school or shady areas on the school grounds should be utilized.
  • Students will be allowed to carry water bottles.  At Area Elementary School, water will be provided for the upstairs classrooms during the afternoon.
  • More frequent water breaks will be taken during the school day.
  • As in any situation, staff will be attentive to the health needs of the students and send those with particular health concerns to the nurse's office.
 

Outdoors:

When weather conditions do not pose a safety or individual health risk, children can and should play outdoors. A heat index at or above 90°F, as identified by the National Weather Service, poses a significant health risk for outdoor activity. These guidelines, provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics, are intended to provide preventive strategies for parents and staff that may limit or revise certain activities for physical education and other outdoor programs during or after school. However, there are several steps that can be taken to protect children from heat-related illness.

 

Guidelines for Outside Activity

The Heat Index is the “feels like” or effective temperature. As relative humidity increases, the air seems warmer because the body is less able to cool itself via evaporation of perspiration.

 

Heat Index

Category

Activity Limitations

 

 

 

Less than 80

----------

No limitations

80 to 90

Caution

Encourage hydration. 75% vigorous activity/25% light activity or rest

90 to 104

Extreme Caution

Enforce hydration.  50% vigorous activity/50% light activity or rest. Sunstroke, heat cramps and heat exhaustion possible.

105 to 129

Danger

Enforce hydration.  25% vigorous activity/75% light activity or rest. Sunstroke, heat cramps and heat exhaustion likely. Heat stroke possible.

130 or higher

Extreme Danger

All nonessential outdoor activities canceled.

 

 

 

 

 

Staff Guidelines for Heat-Related Illness

Staff members who observe students exhibiting symptoms related to heat-related illness, such as those listed below, should contact the school nurse for assistance as soon as possible.

 

  • Muscular cramps brought on by exercise and the resulting loss of sodium;
  • Cool, moist, pale, or flushed skin;
  • Heavy sweating, headache, nausea or vomiting;
  • Dizziness or exhaustion.

 

  • References:

American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Environmental Health (2004).

          Ambient air pollution: Health hazards to children. Pediatrics, 114, 1699-1707.

 

American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness (2000).

         Climatic heat stress and the exercising child and adolescent. Pediatrics, 106,

         158-160.

 

American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness and

         Committee on School Health (2001). Organized sports for children and

         Preadolescents. Pediatrics, 107, 1459-1462.

 

Illinois department of health (n.d.): Guidelines for preventing heat related illness

         in schools. Retrieved February 22, 2019

         http://www.idph.state.il.us/public/hb/hbheatschools.htm

 

Miller, M.G.  Tri rivers musculoskeletal center, UPMC and Butler Health Systems.

         Personal review, February 21, 2019.

 

National weather service (n.d.): Heat index. Retrieved February 8, 2019 from

https://www.weather.gov/safety/heat-index