South Valley districts take extra steps to keep schoolkids safe from heat

'My biggest reminder is to make sure you are hydrating and eating to avoid a heat stroke'

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Saturday, September 3, 2022
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School districts across Central California are ensuring students don't have to face the heat more than they should until the triple digits are gone.

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Central Valley's triple-digit heat wave hasn't put a pause on classes, but local school districts like Visalia and Hanford Unified have made changes to keep staff and students safe.

"We have protocols and guidelines to limit activities outside and increase water breaks," says Mark Thompson, Assistant Superintendent of Learning and Leadership with Visalia Unified.

He says they closely monitor their air conditioning systems.

"From one location, we can see all of our schools and what temperatures are in every classroom. That helps us keep an eye out and be ahead of the game. If we are seeing any concerns or issues, we can go address them immediately," says Thompson.

Hanford Unified says they open up buildings during breaks so students don't have to spend their lunchtime being baked in the sun.

"Typically, libraries are always open, but we've extended that. We have gyms open, and many teachers have their classrooms open during break and lunch so students can have more opportunities to come in and eat out of the heat," says Hanford Joint Unified High School District Superintendent Victor Rosa.

Rosa says they're also educating students on the impact a heat stroke can have if they don't hydrate, especially since he often sees students with energy drinks.

"My biggest reminder is to make sure you are hydrating and eating to avoid a heat stroke but also make the smart choice of what you are choosing."

School leaders say that while nobody loves the extreme heat, they're happy not to be dealing with poor air quality, which is harder to avoid.