According to the National Weather Service, the average highest maximum temperature in Tracy during the month of August is 104; in September, it is 100. In the years 1955 to 2013, the average maximum temperature for August was 92.1, and for September it was 87.9. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac website, the month of August 2014 started off with a peak temperature of 105.1 degrees in Tracy.
“I think the August heat is hard on students,” said Tracy resident Diana Woodard. “My younger child does cross-country every day after school in the heat of the day, and it’s really bad for the kids. They can get heat exhaustion from not being hydrated.”
“I used to work at some of the schools in Tracy and have seen firsthand how uncomfortable kids are in the August heat,” Tracy resident Ana Doerre said. “Kids can be cranky and it’s hard for them to focus. The kids would come into the office after recess or P.E. in the middle of the afternoon, and you could see them drenched in sweat and their faces are all red.”
An opinion poll posted on the Tracy Talks Facebook page over the weekend asked the community to weigh in on the topic. Those who commented on the post were mostly not in favor of kids attending school during August, and many cited personal experiences.
“Starting school in August is especially hard on my son with the heat and his allergies,” said Tracy resident Romelia Berven. “In the classrooms it’s cold from the AC, and then they go out where it’s very hot and that’s hard on their system. When I went to school, we started in September, and that was much easier.”
Common responses mentioned concerns about heat exhaustion, outdoor recess with little shade, outdoor physical education time and a lack of concentration due to the heat.
According to Tracy Unified School District, there are several reasons the start of the school year changed from September to August. The earlier start allows the first semester of classes to be finished by winter break, so students don’t have to worry about exams when they come back from vacation. The school year aligns better with college acceptance schedules, and the California State University system also starts during the month of August.
I would like to see the school district consider “heat days,” similar to the “snow days” that are common in colder climates. On days with extreme heat, kids would stay home from school. Heat days would be made up at the end of the school year, and schools could still keep the same schedule.
Around town this month
Local groups are timing fundraisers with back-to-school activities. Noah’s Ark Foundation of Tracy and Wicklund School Foundation in Mountain House are offering $5 passes for Macy’s Shop for a Cause event. You spend $5 to buy a discount pass valid at Macy’s on Aug. 23, a Saturday. Passes and more info are available for Noah’s Ark Foundation of Tracy at Pampered Pet Grooming & Spa, 1872 W. 11th St. The Wicklund School Foundation passes can be purchased at 300 E. Legacy Drive in Mountain House.
• Anne Marie Fuller is the host of “Helpful Hints with Anne Marie” on Channel 26. Contact her at email@example.com.