As we begin a new school year, a problem begins again for many students when it comes to the bus ride home. During the hotter months of the year such as August, the temperatures in Greenwood can easily reach 95 degrees, with the forecast this Monday being 99 degrees.
Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic both agree that heat stress related illness can begin when the body reaches 104 degrees. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a chart on the interior temperatures of busses that indicates when the outside temp is 92 degrees, with a relative humidity level of 75% outside, the interior of the bus is around 116 degrees.
When speaking with representative Matthew Phoenix from ARDOT, it was confirmed that their busses are air conditioned since “we have a lot of elderly and those with disabilities riding as well, so we can’t have them getting too hot”. However ARDOT does not control school bus maintenance.
Dr. Lee Johnson was asked about the subject saying there are two sides to the issue. “Theoretically exposure to 115 degree heat for an hour could absolutely cause problems, however in my 20+ years in emergency medicine, I’ve never seen a child come in for heat related issues from riding on a school bus.”
When speaking with Suzy Wilson of Greenwood School District, it was stated that some Greenwood busses are equipped with air conditioning, and those busses are typically assigned to longer trips where students will be riding for more than an hour. Busses scheduled for short trips are not accommodated with air conditioning, however if there was going to be a change when it comes to the amount of busses equipped, that change would have to come from the state legislature. As Wilson stated “ things aren’t going to be able to change unless state legislature gets involved. Because there is such a high cost involved, most school districts, especially the smaller ones, would not be able to afford them on their own”.