Heat Index / Heat Stroke
Procedures for Activities during Extreme Heat
Temperatures are often record breaking when school begins in August. The Heat Index, (a combination of the temperature and the humidity) is at its’ height. Teachers and Coaches are responsible for insuring the safety of their students during any and all outside activities. The following procedures should be put into place to support the health and safety of all students during recess, P.E., athletic periods or any outdoor activities when the Heat Index reaches an access of 105°.
Elementary and Intermediate Schools – Grades Pre K – 6
- Teachers will discuss the heat with the students.
- Teachers will remind students to get a drink of water before and after going outside.
- Teachers will not require students to stay outside in the sun, but will provide shade as needed.
- Teachers will limit the amount of time the students are outside in the direct sun.
- Teachers will monitor and limit the amount of physical activity in the direct sun and provide frequent water breaks.
- Teachers will monitor the students closely for any beginning signs of heat exhaustion.
Physical Education Classes:
- Coaches will limit the outside physical fitness endurance requirements on days when the Heat Index is in excess of 105°.
- Coaches will monitor the fluid intake of the students involved in outside activities.
- Coaches will limit outside physical activity to periods of 15 to 20 minutes, encouraging and allowing water intake as desired.
- Coaches will closely monitor the students for any beginning signs of heat exhaustion.
Middle Schools and High School – Grades 7 – 12
All guidelines provided by the UIL will carefully be followed. Due to UIL commitments with other school districts and with officials, it is extremely difficult to cancel games without disrupting the working relationships with other districts and the officials association. Coaches, Band Directors, Cheerleader Sponsors, Drill Team sponsors and trainers are asked to carefully monitor the water intake of the students and the amount of strenuous exercise during workouts and practices in the direct sun when the Heat Index is 105° and higher
Texas School Safety Center
Excessive Heat Disorders
All areas of Texas can experience periods of excessive heat and drought. Excessive heat and drought conditions may be pre-cursers to wildfires. Schools should plan for these periods and limit outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day, typically considered mid to late afternoon. Students with medical conditions may be extremely susceptible to heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Plan to provide plenty of drinking water and shade to keep students and staff hydrated and out of the sun.
Heat Related Illness
Heat-related illness, sometimes referred to as heat stress, can result from a combination of high temperatures, high humidity and physical exertion that affects the body's cooling system. Air velocity can also contribute to heat-related illness. Stale, stagnant air or hot wind increase stress on the body from heat, whereas a cool breeze can reduce the risk of heat-related illness. To prevent heat-related illness, it's important to gradually acclimate to hot weather, stay hydrated, watch for signs and symptoms of heat stress and plan for rest periods. The two most common types of heat-related illness are heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
One type of heat-related illness or heat stress is referred to as heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is a condition caused by the depletion of body fluids and electrolytes causing the body to become over-heated. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- Excessive sweating
- Pale skin
- Elevated body temperature
Heat exhaustion is easily treatable as long as it's onset is recognized early and first aid is rendered quickly. The following actions should be taken if heat exhaustion is suspected:
- Move the victim to a cooler and/or shaded location
- Lay the victim down and elevate their feet
- Loosen clothing and fan vigorously
- Give the victim water or electrolyte-balanced fluids like sports drinks, slowly
- Seek medical attention if the victim doesn't improve
Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia, a condition in which the body's temperature is elevated dramatically and is the most serious type of heat-related illness. Heat stroke occurs when the body's natural cooling mechanism stops functioning and the victim stops sweating sufficiently. It is therefore important to recognize the symptoms of heat stroke quickly, to help treat victims. Symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Little or no sweating; hot, dry and red blotchy skin
- Dangerously high body temperature, greater than 1040
- Extreme dizziness and nausea
- Confusion or delirium
- Convulsions and/or seizures
- Collapse or loss of consciousness
Heat stroke is a genuine medical emergency that can be life-threatening. If heat stroke is suspected, seek medical care immediately. The following actions should be taken if heat stroke is suspected:
- Call 911 immediately
- Reduce the victim's body temperature by placing damp towels around the neck and under the arms
- Do not force the victim to drink or eat
Both heat exhaustion and heat stroke are preventable. When extended outdoor activity or physically strenuous indoor activity is planned, both staff and students should be encouraged to:
- Wear loose and light colored clothing and sunscreen
- Stay well hydrated—drink plenty of water or drinks containing electrolytes (caffeinated beverages should be avoided)
- Take frequent rest breaks