Schools, local organizations take extra safety precautions during heat wave

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Area schools and local nonprofit organizations who are responsible for the most vulnerable populations are taking extra precautions because of record heat. School officials are also getting creative to keep their kids cool.

Wednesday, Little Flower Catholic School on the east side hosted an outdoor water party with sponges, squirt guns and hoses to celebrate their 8th graders’ hard work and to keep everyone cool.

“There was a bucket that they dumped all over me,” said Erin Arney, an 8th-grader.

“More water, a lot more water so everyone gets soaked,” said Xela Scott, another 8th-grader who is recommending more celebrations outside.

The 87-year-old school building does not have central air-conditioning, and it can get hot indoors even with the additional window units and fans.

Only some rooms are air-conditioned, as is the church where students have been moved to the past couple of days.

“It’s hot in there, and it feels great to be out here,” said Anthony Battles, another student.

The younger kids have even taken off their shoes when they arrive at school. The school principal said they need to get creative so everyone stays cool and is ready to learn.

“Our kids who are upstairs have had class in the air-conditioned rooms so we have had cool spaces for them, but it’s a struggle all day,” said Principal Kevin Gawrys.

“We wanted to celebrate their 8th grade year, and we wanted to beat the heat.”

Local nonprofit Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana is also taking its work a step further. Daily food delivery volunteers are now double-checking the temperature inside their clients’ houses or apartments.

The organization serves more than 500 elderly and disabled clients Monday through Friday, but they have the capacity to serve more people in need.

An Indianapolis Public Schools spokesperson said they did not cancel recess, P.E. or after school sports system-wide Wednesday. They left it up to the coaches who were encouraged to have extra water on hand and to keep a look out for possible heat-related illnesses if they decided to hold practice.

Some schools outside of IPS moved their student athletes indoors. The Zionsville Youth Soccer Association cancelled practice for the second time this week.

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