DES MOINES, Iowa – The extreme, and dangerous, temperatures have made for a rocky start to the school year for some metro school districts.
Des Moines Public Schools’ first day of classes was on Wednesday and though they didn’t dismiss early, the heat was a problem for school bus drivers. The district says most of its school buses are not air conditioned and that can cause issues for students and drivers. At the end of their shifts on Wednesday, several bus drivers were monitored for heat exhaustion.
The district has now decided to dismiss three hours early on Thursday.
“While we had a great first day of school, I don’t want the high heat and humidity to put the health and well-being of any student or staff member at risk,” said Dr. Ian Roberts, superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools. “Dismissing early will help people, especially our bus drivers, not having to be outside during the day’s highest forecasted temperatures.”
Breakfast and lunch will be served on Thursday. Elementary schools will dismiss at 11:40 a.m. and middle and high schools will dismiss at 12:25 p.m. Metro Kids childcare will not be available.
The first day of school was cut short in Johnston because the geothermal cooling systems were not able to keep up with the extreme heat at two of the district’s buildings.
The Johnston Community School District is also letting out classes early on Thursday. Secondary schools are being dismissed at 11:50 a.m. with elementary schools getting out at 1:00 p.m.