Charles A. Upson
Dear Parents/Legal Guardians:
As the last few weeks of school are upon us, we will continue to make accommodations to help keep students safe and “cool” during these warmer days.
The following steps are in place to help students and staff remain comfortable and safe:
- Classroom univents are opened to allow for continuous air circulation.
- Fans may be utilized to keep air flowing into and out of the classrooms.
- Mask breaks will be provided throughout the day.
- Lights may be turned off in the classrooms.
- Windows/Blinds may be closed.
- Teachers may relocate to an unoccupied room that may be "cooler" than their own.
- Water breaks will be offered throughout the day.
- Students and staff will continue to practice hand washing hygiene.
- Teachers may choose to utilize shaded areas outside for instruction.
Lockport School District Heat, Humidity and School Safety Bulletin
The combination of warm temperatures and physical exertion can create a potential for several health-related problems to which great care must be taken to protect students and staff from heat illnesses.
Heat Illnesses can occur when the body’s core temperature rises to dangerous level for a sustained period. This is particular likely to occur when the temperature exceeds 86 degrees Fahrenheit or the humidity is greater than 80 percent and no special precautions have been taken. Heat illnesses can present with a variety of different symptoms and it important to understand the distinction between them.
Heat Induced Dehydration occurs when the body’s water content falls to a low level. Early signs are dry lips, dizziness, lethargy. Treatment for this includes increased rest and increased fluids.
Heat Cramps can be involuntary muscle cramping usually in the calves or abdomen. Treatment includes resting, cooling down, and drinking clear juice or sport drinks that contain electrolytes. Other treatments include practicing gentle range of motion, stretching and massage.
Heat Exhaustion is the most common heat related illness. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea and possibly vomiting. An individual may experience cramps, heavy sweating, have a rapid weak heart-rate, low blood pressure, low-grade fever and/or fatigue. Individuals suffering from heat exhaustion should be immediately moved to a shady area, lie down, be provided with a cool drink. Excess clothing or equipment should be removed or loosened and their situation should be carefully monitored.
Heat Stroke is the least common, but most serious form of heat illness. If suspected, 911 should be called immediately. This illness is characterized by disorientation, dizziness, convulsion, confusion and loss of consciousness. Treatment of heat stroke requires rapid cooling. While waiting for emergency responders the individual should be moved to a shaded and cool environment.
From a statutory perspective this means that coaches, teachers are responsible for the welfare of students and must take appropriate measures to prevent harm. This includes promoting awareness of potential health related illnesses and implementing plans for their prevention and treatment.
Migrating the Risk of Heat Related Illnesses
For the purpose of monitoring outdoor conditions and assessing heat related risk there are a variety of tools at available to measure and assess the current situation.
Wet Bulb Globe Temperature
The use of the “Wet Bulb Globe Temperature” or better known as WBGT is considered the gold standard. This measure accounts for the combined effect of temperature, humidity and the impact of sunlight. Unfortunately, not all schools have access to this information or technology readily available for use.
The Heat Index, or better known as HI is an alternative method to help mitigate risks associated with heat illnesses. This index is the temperature the body feels when heat and humidity are combined. The higher the heat index the greater the possibility that prolonged exposure or strenuous activity will lead to heat illness. With heat high index temperatures, students should balance practice or play with rest and hydration to minimize the risk. The heat index temperature is calculated using air temperature, relative humidity and dew point. These 3 elements can be obtained by checking local weather at www.weather.com. A heat index calculator can also be found at www.noaa.gov.
The best way to prevent heat illnesses and injuries is to avoid excessive outdoor activity during the time of high heat and or humidity and remain in a somewhat cooler environment. If outdoor activity cannot be avoided, acclimatization is recommended method for reducing risk. In other words, this means adapting oneself gradually to the change in environment, in the context of outdoor activity it means moderating activity to mitigate the risk of illness. This information and understanding should also be taken into consideration for indoor activities as well such as gym.
Air Quality and Pollen
Pollen and seasonal allergy issues are common during all times of year; however, they are increased during the changing of the seasons as the weather in changing. There are some distinct guidelines for following this and understanding risks associated. Pollen levels are measured on a scale of 0-100 Pollen levels above 50 are considered significant, while below 50 in acceptable. Weekly pollen information is available online through your local television and radio stations and at www.pollen.com. The most common time of the day that pollen issues are most severe is from 5am to 10am and early evenings. Therefore, some students can certainly be affected with adverse issues with related to high pollen counts. All of these factors need to be considered not only into sports and gym, but also the classroom setting.
Another factor that should be considered is the Air Quality Index. Air quality index is a nationally uniform color-coded index for reporting and forecasting daily air quality. It is used to report some of the most ambient air pollutants that are regulated under the Clean Air Act. These pollutants include:
- Ground Level Ozone
- Particle Pollution
- Carbon Monoxide
- Nitrogen Dioxide
- Sulfur Dioxide
The air quality index tells the public how clean or polluted the air is. This works on a scale from 0-500. The higher the value the greater the level of pollutants.
An air quality value of 100 corresponds to the national standard. The air quality index is divided into number of categories with everything from good to moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups, unhealthy for all and hazardous.
Values below 100 are considered to be satisfactory with less than 50 as an ideal number having very low risk to anyone.
Values 51-100 affect groups of the population that are very sensitive and these people should limit exertion when possible and be aware to watch for signs of coughing or shortness of breath.
Values 101-150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. In this range people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children, people with diabetes are to be considered. People with Asthma should take extra precautions and follow their Asthma action plans. Their quick relief medicine should be readily available when needed. It is still okay to be outside, but exertion should certainly be limited.
Values 151 and Higher correspond to situations that are unhealthy for the entire population with various levels of warnings as the value goes higher.
The attached graph specifically outlines what actions should be taken to mitigate the risks involved based on the current Air Quality Index value. You can find these indexes in your local newspaper, television, radio and online through weather channels.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
If your child was invited to attend the Lockport City School District “Summer Program”, and you have not yet returned your forms, please do so immediately. Class sizes are limited and if your child is not going to participate, we would like to offer this opportunity to other students.
Please know, at the Wednesday, June 2, 2021 BOE meeting, the LCSD calendar was modified. Thursday, June 24, 2021 will be the students’ last day of school. This is also a half day for students and dismissal is at 11:50 AM. Students will NOT report to school on Friday, June 25, 2021.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher or myself with questions and/or concerns.