Owosso Public Schools dismiss students early due to heat - WNEM TV 5

Owosso Public Schools dismiss students early due to heat

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OWOSSO, MI (WNEM) -

A local school district dismissed students early due to the unseasonably high temperatures.

Owosso Public Schools announced on its website that Monday, Sept. 25 would be a half day of school due to the anticipated high heat index.

“For the health and safety of our students, High School and Middle School students will be released at 11:10 and elementary school students will be released at noon.  Preschool will hold AM classes only,” the district’s website said.

Childcare at Bentley Bright Beginnings remained open.

All athletic practices and games were also canceled. 

Superintendent Dr. Andrea Tuttle released the following statement:  

The safety and well-being of our students is our number one priority. There is no formula that I used for this decision, just common sense. Our schools do not have air conditioning. When the outside temperature is in the 90’s, and the heat index approaches 100 degrees, there are significant health concerns such as fatigue, nausea, and muscle cramps.

Sitting in some of our classrooms in this heat is equivalent to sitting in your vehicle with the windows rolled up and no air conditioning running.

While this is the first time I as superintendent have had to make the decision to dismiss classes early on account of heat, it is not the first time I have canceled or dismissed early to keep our students safe. Student safety is at the core of all weather factors that we deal with in Michigan: snow, ice, fog, and heat.

"Those classrooms are super, super hot. There is no air in them. You can open the windows, but still," said Katie Weekley, parent. "I think it's a safety issue. I think it's a good idea."

Tuttle said the larger the school, the hotter it gets.

"Primarily at our buildings that have multiple stories - our middle school, Emerson, Washington campus," Tuttle said. "Temperatures in the classrooms are in upwards of 95 degrees."

School officials said if this weather continues there could be even more school closings on Tuesday.

Carla Tuma teaches fifth grade at Bryant Elementary School. She said students struggle in the heat.

"It's been really hard on them to be able to sit and work and concentrate. They have sweat dripping down their face and it's really tough on them. It's hard on us too. I'm thankful that our administration says that there was a need to close today," Tuma said.

Just because students had a half day does not mean they are not learning. Weekley said her son has plenty of homework to keep him busy.

"My son gets a weekly packet sent home for homework and the teachers are really good about sending home learning pages," Weekley said.

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