DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines Public Schools dismissed classes early on Thursday, the second day of school, due to high temperatures.
Students were dismissed three hours early, with he final bell at 11:40 a.m. for elementary schools and 12:25 p.m. for middle and high schools.
One of the groups hit hardest by the heat was bus drivers and their riders. Most all of the district's buses do not have air conditioning. By the end of the day Wednesday, the district said it needed to call first responders to check on a number of its drivers.
"We ended up having 15 of our drivers monitored," said DMPS Director of Communications Phil Roeder. "Fortunately, 14 of them were able to go home right away. We did have one driver that went to the hospital for some further treatment. But fortunately, they're doing well, got rehydrated and cooled down."
Roeder told Local 5 only five DMPS buses currently have A/C, something they hope to build on in the coming years, especially as extreme temperatures become more common in the region.
"We've been starting to transition that way, just like we've been transitioning to having seatbelts installed in school busses. As we replace our fleet were out there seeing upgrades," he said.
“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.”
Class should resume its normal schedules on Friday, but DMPS will monitor the temperatures closely as well as conditions within each of the schools. If anything changes, parents will receive a notice similar to Wednesday night.
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