Excessive Heat Management
In addition to the protocols and procedures outlined in the district’s Emergency School Closings FAQ, Edina Public Schools understands that excessive heat conditions can potentially cause unsafe environments for both learning and activities. The district has developed the following management plan in the event of excessive heat situations.
Which district facilities have air-conditioning?
Currently each building has some level of conditioned spaces, although entire buildings are not necessarily cooled.
- Elementary Schools – As part of the district's long-term deferred maintenance plan and building renovations over the last few years, Concord, Countryside, Cornelia, Creek Valley and Highlands have had mechanical system updates, resulting in dehumidification systems and cooled air. Normandale Elementary and the Early Learning Center, as part of the the Edina Community Center, have conditioned classrooms and spaces.
- Secondary Schools - The majority of classrooms in South View Middle School, Valley View Middle School and Edina High School are conditioned.
How will excessive heat conditions be determined?
The district will use the National Weather Service’s heat index as its primary source of local weather conditions. When excessive heat warnings are issued or when heat index levels reach dangerous levels (105 or higher), the district will monitor indoor temperatures and consider the cancellation or restriction of activities.
- The EHS Activities Department follows Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) guidelines for practice and competition in high heat conditions. The Activities Department will also work with other schools to determine if games should be postponed to cooler times of the day, rescheduled for another day, or cancelled altogether.
- Similar considerations are followed with other EPS after school activities, including Community Education Services programs.
How will cancellations or closings be communicated to families and staff?
- All school closing information will be communicated by the district Communications Department in the following ways:
- Parent/Staff Notification System (automated voicemail)
- District & School websites
- Social Media
- Local Media Outlets - WCCO 830-AM (radio), WCCO (Channel 4), KSTP (Channel 5), FOX 9 KMSP and KARE 11 television. NOTE: local media will identify the District as Edina Public Schools
- Cancellation of specific activities will be communicated by the activity coach/program leader.
What procedures are in place to manage excessive heat?
With improvements to mechanical systems district-wide, it is unlikely that schools would need to close due to excessive heat indoors. There are, however, precautions that can prevent illness and provide for a safe, productive learning environment.
- Classroom cooling
- The district’s maintenance staff will employ strategies that assist in the productive airflow in buildings (e.g. running airflow vents at night when temperatures are cooler).
- In addition to fans provided by the district, staff may be permitted to bring personal fans to help cool classrooms and learning spaces. (Staff should receive permission from their supervisor before bringing personal fans to work to ensure they meet district equipment safety policies and standards, such as OSHA. Staff are not permitted to use their own air-conditioners.)
- Students and staff are encouraged to stay well hydrated, drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
- The district will work to provide additional water and ice at sites, if needed.
- While the district’s buses are not air-conditioned, the new transportation services facility provides enough garage space to keep buses out of direct sunlight when not in use.
- Students will also be encouraged to hydrate with water prior to boarding the bus and will be held inside the school until buses arrive and it is time to board.
- Medical Support
- Students and staff will be monitored for signs of heat illness.
- Health services staff will work with building administration to determine if extra precautions need to be made.
- Outside / After School Activities
- During periods of excessive heat, outside activities will be limited, relocated or cancelled.
- Athletic trainers and coaches will work together to determine the best course of action for student athletic practices and competitions, in accordance with MSHSL guidelines.
- Extreme Heat Tip Sheet for Individuals (Minnesota Department of Health)
- Practicing and Competing in the Heat (Minnesota State High School League)
- Excessive Heat Events Guidebook (developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
- Heat Illness: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment (KidsHealth.org)