Heat leads to early dismissal for schools without air conditioning


CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Some students got out early because of the heat today. Every school we talked to said it’s because all or some of their buildings don’t have air conditioning.

Tuscola schools let out at noon. Their superintendent says two of their three buildings don’t have air conditioning. If the heat index is expected to reach 100 or go over, they said they decide to let kids out early. Some even make the call before that point.

Watseka schools also had an early dismissal at 1:30 p.m. None of their buildings have air conditioning, but this wasn’t just because of the heat. It’s also to give teachers a time to work with all students, and the current “A” and “B” student format can make that difficult.

For example, students are split into A and B groups. Today, B students came to school in-person. Teachers didn’t see A students. After 1:30 p.m., teachers have a chance to communicate with A students – or whichever group they didn’t work with in-person that day – online. It also gives students who are in-person that day, to be in the building for five hours, thus eating both breakfast and lunch. That’s important for those who rely on school to provide meals. After September 18, the dismissal time will move to 2:30 p.m.

Superintendent David Andriano says it’s still a tough decision either way. “Our kids are now wearing face masks all the time, and we’re trying to put into the schedule where we can get them outside so that they can take their masks off and socially distance, but then now you’re looking at the heat index where they shouldn’t even be going outside,” he explained.

We’ve told you before about districts choosing to go completely virtual, so many that would normally be considering early dismissals weren’t affected today.

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