HOW HOT IS TOO HOT? This was a question that many area school districts were forced to answer recently as a September heat wave broke records across the state of Michigan. A few schools trudged forward, particularly those with air conditioning available, or buildings with newer open-air access, and classrooms on lower levels.
Owosso Public Schools was one of the districts that opted for two half-days of school on Monday, Sept. 25 and Tuesday, Sept. 26; sending students home before the hottest part of the afternoon, when several older buildings reached a miserable heat index.
Mrs. Rozanski’s English class (bottom right) on the top floor of the Owosso Middle School, is shown at approximately 10:20 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 26. Her room is situated toward the northwestern corner of the building, so it was not directly exposed to the sun quite yet. The Owosso Middle School is not air conditioned, but shades were pulled and the lights were off to help keep the heat to a minimum. Many children came prepared with water bottles. Most middle school teachers were educating students in similarly darkened rooms. A few had fans going.
Another classroom, Mr. Howes social studies class (top right), is located on the southeastern end of the top floor. At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday morning with full exposure to the sun, his classroom was already recording an interior temperature above 90 degrees on the thermostat, and it was rising. He also had the window blinds pulled, and most lights were off, but with close to thirty children in the fairly small room, keeping the heat down to a comfortable level was impossible.
Over 700 children currently attend the Owosso Middle School.
In some areas, record highs dating to the 1930s were broken. By noon on Tuesday, the National Weather Service was reporting that it was 88 degrees in Owosso, reaching a record set back in 1998.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)