Back To School Means No AC In Tulsa Buses

Thursday, August 4th 2011, 10:27 pm
By: News On 6

Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Changing the thermostat isn't an option on school buses - and on Thursday some children were riding in the heat.

Possibly by the time traditional schools start August 22nd, we'll have some relief. But year-round schools started today - and kids were on the bus without air conditioning.

The buses lined up at Kendall Whittier for the first trip home of the new school year - during one of the hottest weeks we've had. Long time bus driver Richard Colbert turns on the fan - because that's all he has.

"Get the sweat off of you, and that's about it," Colbert said.

On any day that's over 90 degrees, Tulsa Public Schools takes special precautions to keep children and the drivers cool.

"Windows are down, we have air vents on the roof hatches we raise up for the students so they can have air circulation to help keep the bus cool," said Route Operations Manager Terry Evans.

8/4/2011 Related Story: Year-Round Tulsa Schools Start Thursday

On especially hot days - school staff hands out cold water bottles to anyone riding the bus - even to after school daycare.

"It gives me the chills because it's so cold and fresh," one student said.

None of Tulsa's regular busses have air conditioning since it's a very expensive option - but they do have lots of windows, hatches on the roof and the tops are white to reflect the sun.

Besides the features like tinted windows that help keep the bus cool, there's an extra safety feature for when kids are off the bus. The driver has a switch here on the back of the bus that has to be pushed each time before the bus can be turned off.

That's a final check to make sure no children are left behind.

"They're required to check the bus when they get to the lot; they're required to check again and put a sign in the back that says this bus has been checked," Evans said.

Tulsa's longest bus route is less than 45 minutes, so the exposure is short - and all those windows means when the bus is moving - it's not much hotter inside - than out.

Even though the children are in school - they won't be out on the playground any time soon. When it's over 100 - Tulsa Public schools doesn't allow outside recess.