CHESTERFIELD, Mo. — One district is saying high temperatures mean it could be time to take the masks off for students in its summer school programs.
Triple-digit temperatures in the forecast have Parkway School District’s superintendent saying it’s possibly just too hot to make students wear masks.
This is a pivot from the district’s last plan we reported on last Friday, requiring students to wear masks this summer.
The excessive heat warning in our area caused the Parkway district to take a second look at its former masking policy.
Now, Superintendent Dr. Keith Marty says masks are optional for all students and staff working summer programs.
Masks won't be required on buses or in Parkway buildings and schools. The district plans to continue this mask-optional policy for the rest of the summer.
Missouri Red Cross said everyone is at risk when temperatures are above 90 degrees, and we’re well above that.
Extreme heat kills 12,000 people every year and sends 65,000 to the emergency room and kids and the elderly are at the highest risk.
So, it’s important to know what’s what when it comes to heat illnesses:
- Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms that you usually feel in the legs or abdomen and an early sign you’re overheating.
- Heat exhaustion usually happens when you overexert yourself in hot and humid spaces and lose fluid. It’s a mild form of shock.
- Heat stroke is life-threatening. It happens when the body can no longer cool itself.
It’s important to be able to differentiate between heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
With heat exhaustion, look for flushed skin, excessive sweating, dizziness and nausea.
Heat stroke happens when you stop sweating. Your skin likely turns red and you may even pass out – at that point someone needs to call 911.
A St. Louis area doctor told us the signs to look for to avoid getting to this point.
"If you start feeling dizzy, lightheaded, headaches, a little bit nausea, vomiting – that means you're moving into heat exhaustion and becoming dehydrated. At that point you have to take yourself out of the outside and get into a cool environment,” Dr. Rob Pourier, with Barnes Jewish Hospital and Washington University, said.
Missouri Red Cross says if someone is unable to or refuses to drink water, use cool compresses and call 911.