Archive for Thursday, August 23, 2001

Schedules change as middle school heats up

August 23, 2001

If the temperatures rise high enough, Eudora Middle School students may find themselves in the hot seat.

The district's only building without air conditioning established a heat schedule, which calls for student dismissal at 1 p.m. based on the previous day's weather forecast.

The district will decide the night before, so it can notify television channels 4, 5, 9 and 41 and KLWN radio, and parents and caregivers should listen to the late night and early morning shows for announcements.

Sports practices may also change. Football players will practice at 6 a.m. on days forecasted to exceed 90 degrees, and eight grade volleyball players will practice at 6:30 a.m. on days forecasted to exceed 95 degrees.

Last year, middle school students were sent to Eudora High School and continued class in the auditorium, commons and stage.

"It wasn't working too well," Principal Don Grosdidier said. "There were some supervision problems we didn't' like. The staff decided the early dismissal would be better for us."

Grosdidier said there wasn't a particular temperature or heat index that would guarantee an early school dismissal. Rather than watching a particular news station, he said he'd use the Weather Channel's Web site.

"Our call is based upon as a staff what we think is excessive and what we think we can handle," he said.

Deciding the day before means students figure out how to get home, since the buses will still run at 3:25 p.m. Grosdidier said students who couldn't find an alternate way home would have supervised study hall in the building's few air conditioned rooms, like the band room and computer lab. Announcing the early dismissal early also allows the school to use its flex schedule where students attend their core classes math, science, social studies and in lieu of electives.

"It's much more educationally sound for us to do that," Grosdidier said.

Despite potential class time missed because of excessive heat, Grosdidier said the students should have no problem meeting their minimum number of hours in class. He said the district builds extra hours into all of the schools, plus the middle school starts 5 minutes earlier and ends 5 minutes later than other schools, giving it a 10 minute per day cushion.

In the past, the school didn't dismiss early for high temperatures.

"We didn't start as early in those days," Grosdidier said. "Typically, school was after Labor Day. We figure if we can get through a couple of weeks, things will cool down and we'll be OK."

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