Aug 24, 2023

Parents, kids, and bus drivers happy for Des Moines early dismissal

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Des Moines schools dismissed their students three hours early Thursday due to the heat.

“It's really hot out here, so I’m ready to get my daughter and get home so we can cool down,” said Taylor, a Des Moines School parent.

Parents lined up early Thursday morning to pick up their kids at Hanawalt Elementary School. Des Moines school leaders decided hot classrooms and hot buses add up to a dangerous problem for thousands of students.

“I don't like it, because it's hot,” said one young Hanawalt student.

Good news for kids. And good news for struggling bus drivers.

“It is really hot, I’m guessing the bus is probably 115, or 120 in it. It's like a tin can and I am very happy that we can dismiss early, and we can go home where there is air conditioning,” said bus driver Lala Bell.

“I think it’s a good idea to get them out early, it’s too hot to keep them outdoors anyways,” said parent Tiffany Lopez.

Most Des Moines schools are heated and cooled with Geothermal systems that take advantage of steady underground temperatures. But they're usually designed for maximum outdoor air temperatures of around 90 to 95 degrees.

“Because those are average highs. So all systems are going to be struggling on a day when it's 100 degrees out,” said John Hellmers, the service manager for Bell Brothers Cooling and Heating.

Parents say it can be a hassle to pick up kids early, but safety is paramount.

“Just for the health and their safety, obviously, this is the right choice for the school district to make,” said parent Jill Costillo.