Southern California schools brace for extreme heat, announce changes to student activities


School districts in Southern California are taking action to protect students before an extreme heat blast hits the region this week.

The Hart School District in the Santa Clarita Valley told KTLA on Monday it would move sports practices from afternoon to morning and postpone some school events. Recess will also be moved indoors.

Taft High School in Woodland Hills postponed a tennis game and a cross-country meet and replaced some faulty air conditioners.

“The district (Los Angeles Unified School) sent us the laptops. Contractors were here to work on the systems, and we had all the parts ready in (24 hours),” said Taft director Daniel Steiner.

Temperatures are expected to climb into the mid-to-above 90s in the Los Angeles area by the middle of the week, then soar even higher into the triple digits by Sunday.

The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat warnings for Southland.

However, functional air conditioning is not universal in schools.

On Monday, at Valencia High School in Santa Clarita, the volleyball team trained in a gym without air conditioning.

“It’s horrible as a spectator,” said Kristin Degard, her mother. “It’s hard for [the athletes] to breathe.”

LAUSD reminds teachers to be alert to students exhibiting symptoms of heat stress and also asks teachers to limit or modify their physical activities. The district also announced the introduction of portable water misting systems.

“We hear you, parents – it’s too hot,” said Nick Melvoin, vice president of the LAUSD school board. “We need to make sure the kids are inside, or when they’re outside we have water and shade, and we’re doing everything we can to prepare for this week.”

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Richard V. Johnson