School officials plan for heat cancellation

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:40 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

Parents wondering whether Columbia Public Schools will be closed or dismissed early because it’s too hot and humid can find out by about 10 p.m. the previous evening at and through other local media.

“To determine whether we will close early, we visit the buildings, look at the forecast, look at the heat index, we speak with the meteorologist and we speak with the health department to see if there are any warnings out,” Assistant Superintendent Lynn Barnett said. “And after we know all these things, we meet together.”

The National Weather Service forecasts a high temperature for today of 94 degrees in Columbia and a heat index of 102.

On early dismissal days, the schedule is:

  • Benton, Blue Ridge, Cedar Ridge, Fairview, Lee, Field, Midway Heights, New Haven, Parkade, Ridgeway, Russell Boulevard and Two Mile Prairie elementary schools dismiss at 12:15 p.m.
  • Bearfield School grades six to 12, Rock Bridge Elementary School, Jefferson, Oakland and West junior high schools, and Douglass and Hickman high schools, 1:15 p.m.
  • Lange and Smithton middle schools, 1:30 p.m.
  • Bearfield kindergarten to fifth grade, Derby Ridge, Grant, Mill Creek, Paxton Keeley, Shepard Boulevard and West Boulevard elementary schools and Gentry Middle School, 2:15 p.m.
  • Rock Bridge High School and Columbia Area Career Center, 2:30 p.m.

On hot days when school remains in sessions, teachers will allow students to take numerous water breaks.

Last year, the public schools did not close or dismiss early for excessive heat. In 2005, schools dismissed early on one day.

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