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Heat index levels may affect outdoor practices

    With heat indexes in the neighborhood of 115 degrees for the past few days, Bulloch County school administrators are keeping watch over all outdoor practices.  And, if the heat doesn’t let up, officials may consider moving practices for football, cross country, band and all other outdoor activities to the evening
    “We do not want to put kids into situations that could adversely affect their health,” said Marty Waters, principal at Statesboro High School.
    Temperatures have risen above 100 degrees since Monday with the heat index soaring over 110 degress at times.
    Last year, the Board of Education adopted a heat policy as mandated by the Georgia High School Athletic Association.  Bulloch Superintendent Dr. Lewis Holloway, school board members, principals and all coaches and directors of groups who practice outdoors are discussing the heat policy and possible alternatives to protect students from heat-related problems.
    Some alternatives to outdoor practices include moving practices indoors or having night practices. If practices are moved to night time, transportation, practice times and homework are factors to be considered. Waters said that discussions include holding students in a study hall after school, depending on practice times.
    The heat policy employs a chart that allows school officials to compute the heat index using the temperature and humidity level. Activity levels are determined in accordance with the heat index level. Waters said he is constantly monitoring the weather conditions to comply with the policy.
    Activity levels are divided into five categories. The heat index has been at a Stage Four level for the past few days. When levels get this high, practice intensity is lowered considerably.
    No decisions have been made, but conditions will be monitored and any actions deemed necessary will be instituted to protect the students as quickly as possible.
So far, no children at Bulloch schools have reported any ill effects directly related to the heat, officials said.

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