Lancaster County school districts release students amid hot temperatures

LANCASTER, Pa. --- School's out for summer again.

The School District of Lancaster and the Manheim Central School District took steps to alleviate students from the hot temperatures Tuesday.

Manheim Central High School was released at 11:05 a.m. and H.C. Burgard was released at 12 noon.

It's been an unprecedented start to the school year, according to Manheim Central High School senior Conner Carvell.

"We've only left twice last week and then [Tuesday] and that's the first time we've done it in my four years," said Carvell.

Carvell said the high school does not have air conditioning inside so the heat can get distracting for students.

"It probably gets six or seven degrees hotter, especially in a couple rooms. It can get a lot more humid than outside," said Carvell.

The School District of Lancaster allowed optional early release Tuesday at noon for seven of its 20 schools (Buchanan, Burrows, Hamilton, Wickersham, Lincoln, Reynolds, and Wheatland) that are without full-building air-conditioning.

The other schools are operating, as usual.

Superintendent Dr. Damaris Rau said they kept kids in school during hot days last week to help them get acclimated to their schedules for the first week.

"Having consulted with my team, having talked to lots of parents and staff giving me feedback on their concerns, I felt a lot better about students and their families knowing what to expect this week," said Dr. Rau.

Denisse Ortiz, a parent of a student at Reynolds Middle School, said she believe it`s the right decision to make if their student`s health is in jeopardy.

She said it's a far cry from what she remembers.

"When I was in school, we didn`t have central air, we just had to stick it out," said Ortiz, with a laugh, "But I don`t remember it was this hot either."

The plan for the seven schools in the School District of Lancaster for the rest of the week goes, as follows:

• Wednesday, September 5: early release at 12:00 noon for Lincoln, Reynolds and Wheatland/early release at 12:30 for Buchanan, Burrowes, Hamilton, and Wickersham (Bus transportation provided at early dismissal time for bus riders)
• Thursday, September 6: early release at 12:00 noon for Lincoln, Reynolds and Wheatland/early release at 12:30 for Buchanan, Burrowes, Hamilton, and Wickersham (Bus transportation provided at early dismissal time for bus riders)

Unlike Tuesday, these days are not optional.

Dr. Rau said teachers and staff will have full days and will work out of air conditioned "pockets" of the buildings, such as the libraries or cafeterias.

Manheim Central School District says "After school activities [Tuesday] will either be rescheduled until 7 PM, moved to an indoor climate-controlled facility, or canceled. If your son or daughter is involved in an after-school activity, please be on the look-out for an announcement from his or her respective coach."

A little after 4 p.m. Tuesday, officials with Manheim Central School District posted the following on their website: "Due to the weather forecast of continued hot temperatures tomorrow, Wednesday, September 5, 2018, the High School will again have an early release at 11:05 AM. HC Burgard will again dismiss at 12:00 PM. After school activities will either be rescheduled until 6 PM, moved to an indoor climate-controlled facility, or canceled. If your son or daughter is involved in an after-school activity, please be on the look-out for an announcement from his or her respective coach. If a modified schedule is needed for Thursday, we will make a decision no later than 5:30 PM on Wednesday. Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility during this severe weather condition."