PULASKI COUNTY, Ark. – Excessive heat is forcing the school day to end early Friday for many Central Arkansas schools.
The normal release time would mean students get out during the hottest time of the day. This means changes in schedule for students, but also for parents who now must make new pick-up arrangements.
“It is extremely hot,” mom of a student in PCSSD, Jamie Holstead said.
As the yellow school bus drives down the road full of students going home for the day, many of the Pulaski County Special School District buses don’t have air conditioning.
“We have had our bus drivers in extreme heat all week long. We’ve had parents call and say when their kids are getting off the bus they are just really fatigued,” Executive Director of Communications for Pulaski County Special School District, Jessica Duff said.
Jessica Duff said 52 of the 213 buses in the district have air conditioning, but Jamie Holstead’s son who rides the bus home from Baker Elementary School every day, isn’t so lucky.
“The bus is extremely hot, his whole face is red, he’s sweating, he’s sluggish,” Holstead said.
Due to the heat and the lack of cool air, the school district informed parents they would be dismissing school early on Friday.
“We looked at our hour-by-hour temperature and what it would be at dismissal time for our elementary and secondary and regular temperatures were over 100 degrees feels like temperatures were over 110,” Duff stated.
Although, they weren’t the only one. In a statement from the Malvern School District, they released school early Thursday and will also release early Friday due to the lack of air-conditioned buses.
This is so kids can ride home on the air-conditioned buses, and the students being picked up by parents or guardians will go to the Boys and Girls Club for the remainder of the day.
On a post on social media, Brookland School District in Northeast Arkansas also released early Thursday and will release early again Friday.
“I have always trusted their decisions and dismissal and releasing early and delaying times, I have the flexibility at work to kind of accommodate those different times, I know some people don’t so it can be hard, but I just trust, it’s for the kids,” Holstead stated.
Jessica Duff said with the LEARNS Act this year, school districts are not able to do virtual learning days, so as of now those days will be made up at the end of the school year.