Students at the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences (CSAS) went outside for their usual recess Friday afternoon. But teachers and staff keep a close eye on them as temperatures soar well into the 90s with plenty of humidity.
"We follow, in Hamilton County, the guidelines put out for us. I know they're connected to TSSAA, for sports and things like that, but they also govern our outside time for recess," explains Elementary Principal Kelly Coffelt.
They don't want the kids cooped up inside the entire day and want them to "let loose" a bit. Third-grader Ben Ross agrees.
"I'd rather be outside playing with my friends so I can see my friends that are not in my class," says Ross.
He's taking the heat pretty well.
"Just a little sweaty," Ross adds.
But why take chances. Outside time has been limited to 10 to 15 minutes, then the children go back to the cooler classrooms where teachers try to keep them occupied for a little while longer.
"Some teachers have chosen to play games. They might just have drawing or boards games," says Coffelt.
The kids even bring their own water bottles to fill so they can stay hydrated.
Although heat index values this weekend aren't expected to reach Advisory levels of 105°, you can never be too cautious.
The Chattanooga Football Club (CFC) Academy's soccer tournament this weekend includes players from ages 8 to 18 on more than 100 teams from across the southeast. CFC General Manager Sean McDaniel says mandatory water breaks are already scheduled.
"Once the thermometer gets to 90 degrees, which I think it will happen early tomorrow and Sunday--mandatory stoppage," says McDaniel. "Take a break. Everybody get water. Start playing again."
He says organizers are thinking about safety first and the kids don't usually get upset about interrupted play if it means drinking a little H2O.
"If it's hot for us standing on the side line, it's twice as hot for them on the field," adds McDaniel.
Also, physical education teachers at CSAS have been doing a little more lecturing due to the high heat. The gym in the 100-year-old building has no air conditioning system. Coffelt says funds are still being raised to get one installed.
For more information and tips about heat safety, visit this link.