With the start of a new school year coinciding with a steady heat wave, The Emporia Gazette has received some questions from concerned parents regarding temperature controls equipped in USD 253 school buses.
Community Relations Director Lyndel Landgren said the district has also been receiving calls from parents about the temperatures and said while they are aware the buses are uncomfortable both for students and drivers during extreme temperatures, the majority of the buses in Emporia’s fleet are not air conditioned.
“All of the route buses do not have air conditioning,” he said. “Our activity buses and some of our special needs buses do.”
Landgren said earlier this week that there are a number of ways the district is trying to “beat the heat.”
“Unfortunately, right now, it is just extremely hot and the safety of our students is of our utmost concern, so we want to make sure that they are safe and they’re healthy,” he said. “On our preschool buses, each of the preschool buses does carry a jug of water and they have dixie cups so they can give the students some water.”
Preschool buses also equip spray bottles filled with water to mist students who may need to cool off with some water on their arms and legs, too.
Older students riding buses to elementary schools and to Emporia Middle School and Emporia High School are welcome to bring drinks with them, and the district recommends bringing water to make sure they are well-hydrated.
“We also try to keep all of the windows open, so once the buses start moving it definitely helps, but when it’s such extreme heat conditions, it does definitely stay warm on there,” he said.
Landgren said the district also works hard to keep routes as short as possible by trying to keep students on buses for no more than an hour.
Parents with questions or concerns are invited to call the Community Relations office for more information at 341-2200.