All schools in the San Diego Unified School District have “hot weather” plans in place for continued operations of schools during periods of extremely hot weather. The guidelines for the plans are outlined in Administrative Procedure 4032
The district does not close schools due to hot weather but may call for minimum days at some schools under certain circumstances. Minimum days would be called at schools that cannot provide air conditioned learning spaces for all children when the forecasted temperature is 95° or higher with a heat index of 103° or higher. A minimum day schedule is not called on the first day of a heat wave but a decision would be made by noon on the day prior to minimum/modified day schedules being implemented.
The safety and well being of our students and staff are a top priority. We want to make sure they are as comfortable as possible so that learning can continue. As a result, our schools have a number of guidelines in place for planning instruction during hot weather.
Instructional Program Modifications
Elementary teachers may rearrange the daily schedule so that basic skills subjects are taught at the optimal time. Recess activities are limited to quiet games that require a minimum of physical activity. Physical education activities at all grade levels are limited to less strenuous activities and/or are rescheduled to a more appropriate time.
Alternative Locations for Instruction
Cooler areas of schools buildings and grounds are used when available. As an example, some teachers may have students gather in shaded lawn areas or move to rooms with better cross-ventilation. Students in non-air-conditioned portable facilities may be merged with other classes in air-conditioned buildings, such as media centers, cafeterias or auditoriums.
Athletic activities and practices may be canceled due to hot weather, or rescheduled for a more appropriate time. Before- and after-school programs may also be modified or activities rearranged.
Keeping Students Cool and Hydrated
Students are encouraged to bring containers of water to school during hot weather. Water fountains are available in all schools and schools are encouraging students to take extra water fountain breaks throughout the day. Many teachers keep spray-bottles with water in classrooms so that they can ‘mist’ students at their request or as needed.
Students are asked to dress in lightweight clothing that is in keeping with their school dress codes. Please also make sure to apply sunscreen to your child before school, as school staff are not permitted to apply it. If your child has a medical condition that may be compromised by exposure to high temperatures, you may keep your child at home or arrange for an early release.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will schools be closed due to hot weather?
The district does not close schools due to hot weather but may call for minimum days at some schools under certain circumstances. Minimum days would be called at schools that cannot provide air conditioned learning spaces for all children when the forecasted temperature is 95° or higher with a heat index of 103° or higher. A minimum day schedule is not called on the first day of a heat wave but a decision would be made by noon on the day prior to minimum/modified day schedules being implemented. The Superintendent or designee makes the decision to implement minimum day scheduled.
Why don't you close schools?
We believe the best place for our students, even in hot weather, is in the classroom where they are learning, supervised and being part of school activities. Modifications to our instructional plan are made to take advantage of cooler spots on schools and to minimize discomfort as much as possible. Schools know to reduce PE activities such as running, jumping, prolonged exposure to the sun. Activities are adjusted to reduce strenuous exercises. Parents who believe their child’s health may be compromised by excessive heat have the option of keeping students home or picking them up early.
When is my school going to get air conditioning?
In 2013, the Board of Education authorized work to install air conditioning in the 2,000 hottest classrooms at 68 schools across the district. An expedited “Classroom Air Conditioning” plan was developed to conduct school site assessments, develop designs, and coordinate a fast-track review process with the California Division of the State Architect to get the required approvals. Several measures were used to accelerate the installations, which began in 2014. To date, classroom air conditioning installations have been completed at 43 of the schools. Installations are underway at another 15 schools. The rest of the schools in this accelerated plan are expected to be complete by the end of this 2015 calendar year. At its September 15, 2015 meeting, the Board further directed staff to research the costs and work required to install air conditioning in all classrooms. The Board also directed staff to begin immediate work on ensuring air conditioning is installed in all nurses’ offices and essential spaces. A report on what it would take to have air conditioning available in all classrooms is anticipated to be coming to the Board at a meeting in November.
My child is sensitive to heat. Can he/she bring extra water/have special accommodations?
We encourage students to bring containers of water to help stay hydrated and comfortable at school. We also encourage students at school to take water fountain breaks frequently throughout the day. If students have a particular medical condition that is exacerbated by the heat, parents are encouraged to keep them home. Teachers and nurses know to monitor students closely for any signs of heat-related stress.
Why aren’t the nurses’ offices/indoor assembly area/high occupancy space getting air conditioning?
The priority has been on outfitting classrooms. Per the direction of the Board and the Superintendent, an evaluation is underway to prioritize the retrofitting of A/C for nurses' offices and other critical spaces in the schools that have already received classroom air conditioning.
For additional information and your school's Hot Weather Plan, please talk with your school's principal.