Aug 9, 2023 - Climate

How San Antonio schools are adapting in the heat wave

Illustration of a gold medal with a hot emoji face

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Summer vacation is coming to a close, but there's no end in sight for high temperatures.

  • That's prompting local school districts to limit when students go outdoors for extracurricular activities.

Why it matters: Extreme heat is a leading weather-related killer in the U.S., according to the National Weather Service.

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

  • It does, however, provide heat-specific guidelines and education and requires that schools have emergency action plans.

State of play: Though classes for many districts don't start until next week, sports and band practices are already underway.

💭 Axios climate and energy reporter Andrew Freedman's thought bubble: The thing that's different this year is the duration of the heat and the frequently high humidity, which is particularly dangerous since it raises heat indices and makes it harder for the body to cool itself.

Here are the heat plans for San Antonio's largest school districts:

San Antonio ISD

The district uses a tiered approach to sports practices, depending on the heat index, spokesperson Laura Short tells Axios.

  • For example, the local heat index Wednesday is 108, meaning high school and middle school workouts will be limited to 1.5 hours with a 10-minute break every 45 minutes. Middle school students will get a 10-minute break every 30 minutes.
  • Conditioning should not exceed 10 minutes and will take place without helmets and shoulder pads. Extra conditioning or running is canceled.
  • No outdoor workouts are allowed when the heat index is greater than 115°.

Northeast ISD

The district monitors the temperature and heat index daily, spokesperson Aubrey Chancellor tells Axios.

  • Sports teams avoid practicing from 1-5pm, and trainers provide wet towels and ice baths.
  • Stadium lights can be turned on for night practices.

Northside ISD

NISD also limits practices to early mornings, late evenings or indoors during midday, spokesperson Barry Perez tells Axios.

  • The district modifies practice schedules based on the state University Interscholastic League's wet bulb globe temperature index, which considers air temperature, humidity, radiant heat and air movement.

Private schools

Keystone tells Axios it will cut soccer practices short if the heat index gets above 110.

  • The Archdiocese of San Antonio, which oversees the city's Catholic schools, did not reply to a request for information.

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