Schools use caution on hot days

Photo by Sharra Klug

Photo by Sharra Klug

COVINGTON -- Temperatures spiked again just in time for students to return to school this week, and now school officials are trying to make sure they are safe while in their hands during the day.

Earlier this week, temperatures hit 100 degrees in metro Atlanta, and they have continued to stay in the 90s with no real relief in sight.

Newton County schools observe guidelines following the wet bulb temperature, which calculates in the dew point and relative humidity.

When temperatures are above about 90 degrees, schools must alter outdoor events like sport practices, recess and physical education activities. This may mean that five-minute breaks are mandatory every 20 to 30 minutes, more fluids are necessary or full sports uniforms might not be required. When temperatures reach into the 100s, practice could be canceled or moved inside or to an earlier or later start time to avoid the hottest part of the day.

Students may be under restrictions for the next few months. Although events aren't required to be modified much when temperatures are in the 80s, school officials are urged to use caution during that time.

Coaches and other school staff are told to allow student breaks whenever requested during extreme heat and humid conditions and especially monitor students who are overweight, have weight control problems, are taking medications and don't exercise.

Heat illnesses include heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat strokes, with symptoms ranging from muscle spasms to loss of consciousness.

Some student athletes also may be required to monitor weight loss during practices and follow hydration steps, according to the Newton County School System Heat and Hydration Guidelines.

High temperatures are expected to remain in the 90s into early next week, according to weather forecasters.

Already this month, two Georgia high school football players have died from heat complications, one of them after he collapsed while leaving the field after a practice. A third player in Lawrenceville was taken to a hospital but was expected to recover.

Until now, there had not been any heat-related deaths of high school football players in Georgia in the past five years, according to the Georgia High School Association.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.