Aug 14, 2023 - Education

How Dallas-area schools are adapting to this heat

Illustration of a melting apple.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Summer break is over for many districts this week, but the summer heat won't go away.

  • The persistent 100° days are forcing many school districts to adjust how their students spend time outdoors.

Why it matters: Heat waves affect children more severely than adults because their bodies aren't as able to regulate their temperature and because they rely on adults to protect them from overheating, per Scientific American.

  • And with fall sports starting up in Texas — clear eyes, full hearts — athletes, cheer squads and spectators could be at risk.

State of play: Texas' University Interscholastic League, the governing body for high school sports, leaves heat-related adjustments to the discretion of local school leaders because of the state's size and varying climates, spokesman Logan Lawrence tells Axios.

  • The UIL does provide heat-related education and requires that schools have emergency action plans.

What they're doing: Dallas ISD sports teams and bands can decide if they'll practice in the morning or evening. A "no-fly zone" discourages outdoor practices between noon and 6pm, per Corey Eaton, the district's director of sports medicine.

  • Students have to practice indoors or wait until the temperature drops if the WetBulb Globe Temperature, which measures heat stress in direct sunlight, is over 92.1°.
  • For recess, elementary schools can't have any outside activity if the heat index is over 105°. They can offer only "essential outdoor activities" for heat index values between 100° and 104°, but water has to be provided before and after the activity, per Dallas ISD.

Meanwhile: Colleyville Heritage High School and Euless' Trinity High School are among the few local schools with indoor practice fields that can shield their athletes and bands from the heat during practice.

Worthy of your time: The Star-Telegram shares how North Texas coaches are dealing with football practice in the heat.

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