In this area of South Carolina, school starts back on Monday, August 17th. Students will be riding school buses in the early morning and mid-afternoon. The temperatures are still running in the high 80’s with heat indexes in the mid- to upper 90’s in the afternoons. One of the local school districts are running close to 90% of their regular fleet with no air conditioning. Most special needs buses have air due to the health of the students who ride these buses. The question is, just how hot does it get in school buses that have no air conditioning?
The United Federation of Teachers, after measuring temperatures on school buses in Shreveport, LA, found bus temps spiking to 116 degrees. This area of the country is known for its heat, but with El Nino in place, the entire country has seen temps in the 90’s and 100’s. Would riding with the windows down help cool the inside of the bus? A local news show on Thursday of this week measured the temperature inside a bus while riding with the windows down. They found that this only cooled the bus to what the current temperature was outside in the shade, which was 103 degrees. There are too many starts and stops to keep air circulating within the bus.
What can be done to counteract this heat? Some bus drivers are carrying coolers with ice and water for students who are affected by the heat. Many school districts, teachers, and officials are suggesting that when temperatures are expected to rise above 100 degrees, the schools should plan for noon dismissals – the same way many districts up north accommodate for snow.