Heat prompts half day at Coronado schools

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CORONADO, Calif. -- Coronado Unified School District students will be dismissed early for a second consecutive day Thursday as the sticky late-summer heat wave continues to grip the region.

Due to the heat and humidity, District Superintendent Jeffrey Felix ordered staffers to begin instruction at scheduled times, but end classes at 12:30 p.m. Sack lunches will be available in campus lunch areas at dismissal.

Heat releases are based on ambient air temperature, heat index, air pollution standards and other factors as they are reported by the National Weather Service. Many Coronado classrooms lack air conditioning and "occasionally suffer from extreme and unhealthy temperatures,'' Felix said in a statement posted on the district's website.

"My decision of a heat release day hinges on information provided by reputable forecasts consisting of a temperature or heat index of 90 degrees or higher and/or a high temperature forecast for more than one day,'' Felix said. "A heat release event will be declared before 7 p.m. for the following day so that families may prepare.''

At campuses in the San Diego Unified School District, the school day will not be shortened because of the heat. However, instructors were advised to modify plans and limit outside activities.

San Diego Unified only cuts classes short in schools without air conditioning in every classroom on days when temperatures of 95 degrees or higher are forecast, the heat index -- how hot it will really feel because of the humidity -- is at least 103 and it is not the first day of a heat wave, according to the district's website. Today's forecasted weather does not meet that criteria.

District officials encouraged students to bring water and take extra water breaks, dress in lightweight clothing -- although it must be compliant with the dress code -- and apply sunscreen or have their parents do so. Many teachers also keep spray-bottles with water in classrooms so that they can "mist'' students at their request or as needed.

School officials told FOX 5 they plan to have a half day of school on Friday due to the heat.

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