Central Florida schools gear up for first day amid heat wave

Thousands of kids are heading back to school across central Florida on Thursday amid a heat wave.

School districts tell FOX 35 News they're monitoring the weather, and will adjust as needed. Here's what some of the districts are doing to prepare.

Orange County Public Schools said all its buses have air conditioning. If necessary, PE and recess can be held inside. They are also making sure students have plenty of water breaks. In a memo sent out to teachers, and principals, teachers must schedule water breaks during and at the end of class. Students should be instructed to get a drink during break time regardless of whether they are thirsty.

Osceola County Public Schools says all of its school buses are equipped with air conditioning. They're also reminding students to bring water bottles to stay hydrated.

Flagler County Public Schools is asking parents/guardians to make sure children are dressed appropriately for school. It will also limit outdoor activities for students. Its buses are equipped with air conditioning but because doors are constantly opening and closing during routes, that could create a challenge.

Marion County Public Schools is asking parents if they can remain at the bus stop with their student until the bus arrives, this will give kids more time in the air conditioning. Students are also encouraged to bring water bottles to refill. Recess and outdoor physical education activities may also move indoors based on the weather.

Doctor Michael Sparks, a Family Medicine Doctor told FOX 35 that kids are especially vulnerable to heat because they aren't aware of their body limits. "They're not aware they haven't gone to the bathroom, it's been a long period of time, they didn't drink any water, and then they show up saying their stomach hurts, having cramps, or not feeling good. Now, it's already too late at that point."

Dr. Sparks recommends parents equip their kids with cooling towels, insulated water bottles, ice packs, and frozen water bottles. If your kid takes the bus, try waiting with them at the bus stop in the car with AC so they don't have to be out in the heat as long.

Dr. Sparks is asking parents to talk to their kids about heat-related illnesses so they know what to look out for. 
"We tell them, watch out for feeling crampy and feeling sick to your stomach, feeling like you're going to throw up, sweating excessively. All of those signs are that a teacher or coach needs to know."