Schools Adjusting Schedules, Activities because of Heat

Wednesday, August 30th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Area schools are making some adjustments to help students and staff cope with the heat. Tulsa Public Schools issues heat advisories based on the heat index which reached 108 degrees Fahrenheit Tuesday afternoon. News on Six education reporter Glenda Silvey found many schools are revising schedules and activities to keep students safe.

With the start of this year's football season only a few days away, high school teams can't afford not to practice. However, Tulsa area schools say they're keeping a watchful eye on student athletes. In addition to adjusting practice schedules and making sure athletes down plenty of fluids, some coaches alter workouts in heat this intense. "We will go with the light workouts,” said East Central soccer coach Clancey Gray. “Mostly agility drills and activities like that. Nothing that's going to hinder them or hurt them."

Young and conditioned, most athletes take the heat in stride, but they feel it.
"You know we have plenty of water out there which cools us down somewhat,” said high school football player Sabah Khalaf. “But we still have to go out there and work hard and put up with the heat."

School officials say weather does affect students, making some more lethargic, others more fidgety. "With the unseasonable heat we have in Oklahoma, they're reacting,” said East Central High School principal Tom O'Malley. “It's common."

Most area elementary playgrounds are quiet this week, as schools are keeping students inside all day. "You can't tell children not to run and play, because they will,” said Lee School principal Sharon Atcheson. “It just is too warm." Atcheson says students aren't complaining about playing games in cool classrooms during lunchtime and recess. She says the heat may actually have helped students enter a routine more easily. "We don't waste the time when they come in from the outside and they're hot and they're having to go get drinks all the time,” Atcheson said. “So I think we've really had an exceptionally smooth opening of school."

Most schools say things are running smoothly, without disruption in learning.
But patience may not last in this blistering, monotonous heat. And students, like most everyone else, are eager for the first sign of a break.

Tulsa Public Schools says the heat can be hard on students riding buses home. Buses aren't air-conditioned. The district provides water on buses transporting students with special needs. Other students are allowed to bring water bottles on the bus.