Heatwave affects student transportation

Jasper Winterton
Feature Editor

Pawling CSD #96 drives away. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

“I decided I had to get someone to pick me up, so I had to have my poor grandma get me after school because it’s so bad,” sophomore Kate Spellecy said about her bus.

About 175 high school students ride the bus, and a portion of the school walks as well.

A heat wave hit the Midwest, officially bringing a heat advisory Aug. 20. Since the first day of school, several students’ have spoken about the dangers it has put on transportation.

“There are like small fans at the front (of the bus), but none of the students feel that. It’s just for the driver. When I get off the bus in the morning, it’s colder outside,” Spellecy said.

The bus Spellecy takes has about a 30-minute long route to school from her bus stop and is fairly packed. There are heaters in it during the winter, but with the lack of air conditioning, extended periods of time in intense heat causes a risk to students’ health, according to the City of St. Louis Department of Health Heat Warning Guidelines.

Heat exhaustion is commonly pushed aside by students experiencing it, as the symptoms don’t seem serious at the early stages, including nausea, headaches, and fatigue. Then as the exposure to heat progresses, it can turn to heat stroke, which can be fatal if not treated. When buses break down or have issues getting to a location, students can be forced to wait up to hours Spellecy said.

“In the mornings it’s super miserable,” Spellecy added. “There was some sort of issue with the bus, and people were waiting on my bus before they picked me up, and I assume that was miserable- it’s half an hour from my stop to school.” Spellecy said there is usually at least one person in one seat, but usually all are fully filled on her bus.

Spellecy said she has been experiencing headaches as a result of the heat, and the bus has made them worse.

Sophomore Izzy Brunk also has been exposed to the heat during her way to and from school, but not from the bus. While she is able to get a ride from her parents, when she isn’t, she carpools with friends who have cars or has to walk, and the simple walk from the parking space to the school is enough heat to cause her to experience headaches, nausea and other symptoms of heat exhaustion. The lack of parking availability plays into it, and for her, regardless of the car available, she ended up walking roughly three blocks to get to school. Her mom, who is a teacher out of the district, has had students passing out from the heat wave.

“During my mom’s open house … she had a kid fully pass out from the heat. It was 98 degrees outside, and currently it’s 101. That’s a three degree difference,” Brunk said. She mentioned multiple times the exhaustion the heat has caused her, and both Spellecy and her reported symptoms of exhaustion- even if only one of them ever has to walk.

Not only are the safety of students a concern, but around St. Louis, there has been an increase of bus drivers calling out sick due to the heat, causing hour(s) long bus delays. Due to the complications and conflict of the transportation for students, school districts such as Lincoln County, Wentzville, Frances Howell and Belleville west announced early dismissals, according to news sites such as Fox 2 news and NBC.


Jasper Winterton-Feature Editor

This will be Jasper Winterton’s first year on ECHO staff. He made several contributions while taking journalism class his freshman year.

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