District's after-school program <br>also closing early

Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | 4:54 p.m. CDT; updated 9:44 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 11, 2008

COLUMBIA — When Columbia’s public schools close early — as they did Wednesday and will again Thursday and Friday because of excessive heat — the district’s primary after-school program closes, too.

Adventure Club provides after-school care to about 800 elementary students, said Director Pamela Osman. “Safety is our number one concern,” Osman said.

Adventure Club began notifying parents about early dismissal on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning when parents dropped their children off. Other parents were contacted by phone on Wednesday.

Some places that provide after-school care picked up the children at early-dismissal times. Green Meadows Preschool, which serves Mill Creek Elementary, took between 15 and 20 students by school bus to the preschool, where they were scheduled to be cared for until 5:45 p.m., Assistant Director Brandy Birdsong said.

The Child Development Lab closed one preschool class and sent 10 preschoolers home, Jessie Darko, director, said, in order to send teachers to pick up 28 students in need of after-school care from eight elementary schools. The Development Center provides after-school care until 6 p.m. and early care from 7 to 9 a.m.

Bruce Whitesides, director of physical education and athletics for the district, said this week physical education classes are doing paperwork, and outside activities won’t begin until next week. If it’s still excessively hot then, classes will be adjusted, he said.

As for sports, outdoor practices have been under way since Aug. 6, Whitesides said, and coaches are aware of heat concerns and are practicing accordingly, with frequent water breaks and trainers at every practice.

Missourian reporter Lyndsey Nelson contributed to this article.

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