Heat forces Clark County schools to close Tuesday

Three Clark County schools let out early Tuesday because of excessive heat in classrooms.

Clark-Shawnee Local Schools, Greenon Local Schools, Northeastern Local Schools all let out early because the classrooms were too hot for students. The decision to remove kids from classes early due to the hot weather has become a regular occurrence over the last decade. All three districts are in the process of planning to build new schools.

“The safety of our students and staff are our top priority,” Clark Shawnee Superintendent Brian Kuhn said. “We want to have healthy learning environments for everyone. I made the decision yesterday to have a 90-minute early release today based on some internal and external temperatures that we were monitoring yesterday and the anticipated forecast for today.”

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WHIO-TV’s five-day forecast shows highs were in the 90s Tuesday and most of the rest of the week will be in the 80s. Thursday is projected to be the coolest day with a high of 79.

Kuhn said the district had several classrooms in all the buildings that were just too hot to hold classes in. He was not sure Tuesday afternoon whether the school would close early again Wednesday.

“It’s a day-by-day basis,” he said. “We monitor temperatures in the building, external temperatures, forecasted temperatures, so, unfortunately, I can’t look into a crystal ball and predict, but we are going to do what is necessary to make sure our student and staff are safe and again we keep our school healthy and safe learning environments for students.”

Changing dismissal time can cause disruption in daily routines, Clark-Shawnee parent Kelley Rogers said. However, she said she doesn’t want her students to sit in a hot classroom all day.

“It’s extremely hot,” she said. “A lot of water bottles and fans because there’s no air conditioning except the media center and maybe a couple other places.”

Kuhn said the district tries to make a decision as quickly as possible to help parents plan. Younger students also have the ability to attend Latchkey, an after-school program, to help parents.

Clark-Shawnee is in the process of planning for a new school that will prevent the district from having to close early due to heat.

“Our new buildings, once the preschool-through-sixth-grade buildings are built, and when the seventh-through-12th-grade building is renovated, they will be fully air conditioned and that climate control will allow us to be able to maintain operations on hot days like today,” he said.

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The decision to close schools early is never an easy one, Greenon Superintendent Brad Silvus said.

“As I have mentioned before, there are many factors that go into early releases as they relate to heat/temperatures,” he said. “We look at forecasts, building temperatures, air flow in the buildings and other areas. Currently, with the hot temperatures and little air flow, buildings with hundreds of students warm up quickly and do not cool down overnight with temperatures staying in the 70s.”

Greenon let students out two hours early on Tuesday. .

“We evaluate these situations on a day-by-day basis. We will go through that process again later (Tuesday) to make a determination for (Wednesday),” Silvus said.

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Greenon is getting ready to break ground on their new kindergarten-through-12th-grade building. The new school will have central air and prevent the district from having to let kids out early on hot days, officials have previously said.

Northeastern Local Schools let elementary students out of class at 1 p.m. and older students were allowed to leave at around 2 p.m. Superintendent John Kronour told the Springfield News-Sun no decision had been made for Wednesday by Tuesday afternoon.

Southeastern Local Schools is another school that regularly allows students out of school early but this year elected to delay the start of the school year. Students are not due in class until Aug. 30.

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