Central Unified Red Alert

August 14, 2008 7:44:30 PM PDT
The combination of extreme heat and bad air is causing concern at Central Unified School District on their second day of school. They went on a red alert Thursday which means a drastic reduction in outdoor activities, but future heat waves may not be as much of a problem. Stephen Buchanan was pouring sweat just picking up his first grader at Teague Elementary School. It was triple digits, but Buchanan was fine with his daughter playing outside: under one condition. Buchanan said, "People that are on duty ensure that our children have efficient amounts of water ... overheating, heat exhaustion. Things like that."

Marilou Ryder is Central Unified's superintendent. She said teachers are ensuring kids remain hydrated. A red alert means students are kept in doors if they have respiratory problems. Also, all students are not allowed to do strenuous activities like running. Ryder said district officials are considering pushing back the school year to avoid heat waves, "Especially with the increasing energy costs and the amount of air conditioning that has to go on out there. We've been running around doing a lot of air conditioning issues this past couple of days."

Instructions also went out to sports coaches, not to allow athletes to practice with heavy equipment. Michelle Pulido offers simple advice to keep all students cool and healthy, "Let them take water to school. Most of the time my kids take it upon themselves to bring water every morning."

The air quality on Friday is expected to be very unhealthy which means Central Unified could stop all outdoor activities. So far, the superintendent reported only a few minor heat related illnesses.

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