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Heat Exposure to Children in Palm Springs School District

PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:14 am
by Perry
The school board recently voted to start next year's school year on August 5 despite parents expressing concern about heat exposure to students. This decision defies common sense and medical knowledge. This year on August 5, the airport recorded 120 °F (Edit: I previously thought 121 °F). The school year could be compressed by shortening all of the unusually long vacations and switching half-day Wednesdays to full days which doesn't cost money. ... sArchive=0 ... ived=False

Does anyone know how to access the audio recording of the meeting?

Does anyone know who voted for and against the calendar that was approved?

Is there a process to recall board members or stop the calendar from being implemented? Myself and other parents spoke to the board in August and September, and it appears that what we said went in 1 ear and out the other.

Some children have to walk 3/4 of a mile to get home because they don't qualify for bus service. In theory it could be as much as 1.5 miles according to bus service maps, but I don't know if that actually happens. It's 1.4 miles from Cathedral City Elementary to Cathedral City Towne Villas.
Supposedly this is because of a tight budget, but I have to wonder if money is being wasted or if deals are happening that strain the budget? I would think that this would be a priority and that something else could be cut to pay for additional transportation on very hot afternoons.

Also, a parent on Facebook said that some children were experiencing heat illness at school in August and that many other parents also said this. The humidity was bad at the end of August and early September this year. Even if children appear to recover from heat illness, there can potentially be permanent effects on short term memory, attention span, and problem solving. This is hard to study in children due to ethical limitations, but apparently there's no legal limitations with the school decisions?

I contacted 2 journalists this week. No replies yet.

Edit: it looks like Dr. Ruiz' staff is looking into the issue. The contact link I had sent previously wasn't working.

Re: Heat Exposure to Children in Palm Springs School Distric

PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:43 pm
by Wildhorse
This is awful. There can be no justification for exposing children to heat injuries. It is abuse.

Re: Heat Exposure to Children in Palm Springs School Distric

PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:27 am
by zippetydude
Many schools have moved their starting dates earlier in order to enhance their testing scores in May so that they get maximum funding. As they say, people vote for their pocketbooks. Not hating on anyone, but this would include people trying to run school districts. While I absolutely agree with Wildhorse that this nonsense needs to stop before next August, I am hoping that a real and lasting solution can be had by either making the standardized testing dates variable and up to the district or by switching to a more valuable measurement of human growth and development. Forcing a little 7 year old to walk to school and home again in 100+ temps with life threatening humidity is beyond any possible level of what should be tolerated.


Re: Heat Exposure to Children in Palm Springs School Distric

PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 1:05 am
by Perry
Wildhorse, I was shocked when I learned about the news a few days ago. I agree that this can't be justified by budgets and test scores.

Zip, thanks for the info. I was wondering if the testing varied based on the start date of the school year. Sounds like it's fixed in May. You would know I'm sure. Someone had mentioned on Facebook that research shows a shorter summer improves test scores. I bet that research was done in a colder climate.

A lot of non-members might be visiting this thread, and people are welcome to join and disagree with me or post info that challenges my statements. See instructions on how to join and post messages. The email feature of the board does not always work, but PM's do if people remember to check them.

Here are the links I had posted in the other heat-related thread: ... onitoring/ ... m#children
WBGT is not the same as temperature and the numbers cannot be compared even if the units are the same (°F or °C).

And recommendations from the National Weather Service based on heat index which is based on shaded conditions: ... 20Plan.pdf (page 19) (In bold notes: add ~15 degrees for full sun.) ... tindex.png (chart that includes lower humidity)

Re: Heat Exposure to Children in Palm Springs School Distric

PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 11:36 am
by Ellen
Perry, I am appalled.

Children have less developed and therefore less effective thermoregulatory mechanisms than adults. Risk of hyperthermia in hot environments and hypothermia in cold environments is higher in children than adults. Heat production during activity per pound of body weight is greater in children but the ability to transfer heat from the core to the skin by blood is less effective. The smaller the child the greater the increase in heat production.

in response to physical activity, the cooling effect of evaporation from the skin is the body’s primary method for cooling. Unfortunately the sweat response is less effective in children compared with adults. Children also have a lower sweat rate. The sweating threshold (the core temperature when sweating starts) is also higher for children. Children also experience a greater increase in body temperature due to dehydration.

All of these factors increase the risk of heat illnesses in children.

Children (and adults) with high levels of body fat and heavy builds or more susceptible to heat stress because they are less effective in dissipating body heat.

Ellen Coleman, MA, MPH, RD, CSSD
Sports dietitian and exercise physiologist

Re: Heat Exposure to Children in Palm Springs School Distric

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:16 pm
by Perry
Permanent cognitive effects can happen without heat stroke, and there is a lot of variation in how individuals are affected:
I think the only way to study this in children would be to test short-term memory and compare statistics between extremely hot climates and cold or moderate climates.

Re: Heat Exposure to Children in Palm Springs School Distric

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 3:22 pm
by Wildhorse
It is really disturbing to think that educators would subject children to heat injuries, including possible cognitive damage, any reason. It is revolting if they are doing this for the sake of more funding.

Re: Heat Exposure to Children in Palm Springs School Distric

PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:21 am
by Perry
No bus service for any of the kids at Two Bunch Palms Elementary in Desert Hot Springs: ... almsES.pdf

Rancho Mirage Elementary has a very different map: ... rageES.pdf

Re: Heat Exposure to Children in Palm Springs School Distric

PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2019 1:49 am
by Perry
The Nov. 26 minutes were approved at the Dec. 10 board meeting: ... sArchive=0

Member Cornett moved and Member Gerrell seconded approval.
The motion carried by the following vote:
AYES: President Clapp and members Cornett, Gerardi and Gerrell
NOES: None
ABSENT: Member Wood

I am wondering if the main reason for the calendar is not test scores but people wanting longer breaks during the school year. 2 weeks of spring break doesn't sound like a good strategy for boosting test scores in May.

Re: Heat Exposure to Children in Palm Springs School Distric

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 11:01 am
by Wildhorse
I was hoping they would give due consideration to the risk and rethink this, especially in light of the ever warming climate.