Preparing for triple-digit temperatures: Springfield Public Schools take measures to keep students cool

Parents and schools collaborate to beat the heat on back-to-school bus rides
Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 4:24 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 21, 2023 at 5:17 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - As the school year begins, the Springfield Public School (SPS) district is gearing up to face scorching temperatures in the triple digits.

SPS says 106 out of the 150 school buses have air conditioning, so parents and faculty are working together to ensure the safety and comfort of students during their daily commute.

“Kids are going back to school this week. It’s exciting!” says Jennifer Forschler, who has three children eager to head back to the classroom. The plan is for her kids to take the bus, a routine that brings together friends and neighbors for a fun morning gathering.

Even though the mercury is soaring, Forschler’s kids will step onto the school bus, determined to make the most of their first day.

“We did talk about it a little bit with the kids. It is super hot. But they said that they can put the windows down and drink water on the bus, so hopefully, that’s enough to keep them comfortable for the ride there and back,” Forschler says.

Springfield Public Schools is well aware of the challenges posed by the extreme temperatures. To proactively address this issue, district leaders distributed KY3′s heat index report to all their leadership staff.

“As soon as you learn about different conditions that may impact the health and safety of students, you obviously start planning,” says Lee Ann Neill, the director of health services for the district.

Bus drivers are playing a pivotal role in ensuring the students’ well-being. They are instructed to be vigilant for any signs of discomfort among the students and encourage them to stay hydrated.

Moreover, special attention is given to students in the special education program, ensuring they are the first to board the air-conditioned buses. For others, it’s a luck-of-the-draw situation.

“The nice thing about being in a vehicle, whether it’s your own personal vehicle or a school bus, is that you can roll down windows and circulate air. So thinking about moving air versus still or stagnant air,” Neill says.

Parents are also getting informed on strategies to keep their children comfortable during this heatwave. The district will send out an email outlining its recommendations for dealing with extreme temperatures and has included important announcements regarding the first day of school.

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