Most students in the Lawrence school district started classes today. And even though school was held only in the morning, warm temperatures made class uncomfortable for some.
"It is hot. Upstairs is just unbelievable," said Lawrence High School Principal Brad Tate. "We've got some classes that have moved outdoors already. It's 90 degrees or above in some classrooms."
All students were to begin a full day of classes Wednesday. But with temperatures expected to hit the 90s throughout the week, students will be released two hours early Wednesday through Friday, school officials announced this morning.
School buses will be running two hours early as well, thus providing the students transportation home.
THE MORNING and afternoon kindergarten schedules will remain the same, so only afternoon sessions will be shorter. Athletic practices will be limited to before 8 a.m. and after 5:30 p.m.
The regular class schedule will resume next week unless otherwise announced by the school district by Sunday.
Ernest Coleman, principal at Wakarusa Valley School, said his students are keeping cool thanks to air-conditioning units that the school's PTO purchased for each of the classrooms two years ago.
"We can't change conditions on the playground, but we're in good shape in the classrooms," Coleman said.
Despite that comfort, Wakarusa Valley will have to end classes early so that students can meet the earlier buses. Because the school is in a rural area, Coleman said, students are quite dependent on the buses for transportation to and from school.
"ANY OF A number of other schools probably could have a normal day of classes if they had air conditioning," he said.
Coleman said that aside from the heat cutting into classes, school is off to a fairly normal start.
"Our first day of school is off to a fine start," he said. "Every kid I saw came in with a smile on their face. They're glad to be back in school."
Mick Lowe, principal at West Junior High School, said he also noticed a positive attitude among the school's students.
"It's always fun for the seventh-graders because everything is new to them. They're all excited," Lowe said.
Eighth- and ninth-graders don't start school until Wednesday, thus making the junior high schools a little less crowded today.
TATE SAID construction in the area of Louisiana and 19th streets just outside of LHS had not caused too much traffic congestion. Instead, he said, "The traffic problems are in the halls."
Tate said he couldn't yet provide a headcount of LHS students, especially because some students were still enrolling today. However, school officials expect to have headcounts for all schools in the district sometime Wednesday.