CINCINNATI — Snow, ice and extreme cold are the usual culprits when schools are forced to cancel classes. This year some Ohio schools already have lost some of their “snow” days due to temperatures that hovered around 100 degrees.
Both the Dayton and Cincinnati public school districts lost whole days last month due to the high heat and humidity, and at least three other southwest Ohio public school systems let classes out earlier than usual as temperatures soared.
With many schools having no air conditioning and starting fall sessions earlier, more districts may find themselves canceling classes due to sweltering summer weather in the future. School officials, however, don’t expect the threat of hot weather to result in pre-planned calendar changes anytime soon.
“We’re not saying that it couldn’t be an additional factor that we could look at, but our last calendar adoption was for three years,”
Cincinnati Public Schools spokeswoman Janet Walsh said. “Parents especially like to have advance notice for their planning.”
The Cincinnati district missed two days, but won’t have to add any makeup days yet. The state allows schools to miss five out of the 182 days required for the regular school calendar, although those days are usually taken in winter months.
Cincinnati only lost two days last month due to the heat, but Dayton Public Schools canceled six days of classes.
“You certainly don’t welcome these kinds of disruptions, but we have to look at how the extreme heat and humidity could affect the well-being of students and staff,” Dayton schools spokeswoman Jill Moberley said.
Dayton schools started Aug. 6, but classes were canceled the rest of that week due to the high heat and humidity. The district had to cancel two more days of classes two weeks later — bringing the total to six and leaving the district with one day to make up so far this year.
If the winter proves harsh and classes are canceled again, the district would find itself looking at more makeup days.
Both Cincinnati and Dayton are counting on school construction projects to help them avoid future “heat days.” By 2010, Dayton students should all be in air-conditioned schools, and Cincinnati schools should all have air conditioning in four years.