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Excessive heat causes Sedalia 200 to reschedule first day of school


Sedalia School District 200 students are getting a few more days of summer vacation after the district announced on Tuesday, Aug. 22 that it is rescheduling the first day of school.

The 2023-24 school year was scheduled to start Thursday, Aug. 24, but it has been rescheduled to Monday, Aug. 28 due to excessive heat and humidity forecasted to continue through the end of the week.

The district notified parents via an e-newsletter about the schedule change. The newsletter states that on Tuesday afternoon – when students usually travel home from school – the temperature ranged from 110 to 120 degrees inside a First Student school bus.

“This extreme heat combined with high humidity makes it dangerous for students and bus drivers,” Superintendent Todd Fraley said in the newsletter. “If a heat illness were to occur with one of our drivers, the consequences could be catastrophic. With the safety of our students and bus drivers in mind, we are moving the first day of school to Monday, Aug. 28.”

The Open House events planned for Tuesday, Aug. 22 and Wednesday, Aug. 23 will be hosted as scheduled.

The Smith-Cotton Junior High Sixth Grade Orientation will still be hosted Wednesday morning. The newsletter notes it ends before 11 a.m., and the bus routes home will be shorter with no other students on board.

Practices for Smith-Cotton High and SCJH athletics and activities will continue with changes made due to the heat. The parent newsletter included the full schedule of changes.

“We regret any inconvenience this makes for our district families, but we must keep students safe,” Fraley said.

Pettis County remains under an excessive heat warning until 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25. According to the National Weather Service, dangerously hot conditions with heat index values of 105 to 120 are expected for portions of east central and northeast Kansas and central, north central, northwest and west central Missouri.

The NWS states, “Extreme heat and humidity will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities. Overnight lows around 75 to 81 degrees each night will minimize recovery, which could compound into heat-related illnesses.”

On Wednesday, Sedalia will see patchy fog before 8 a.m. Otherwise, the forecast is mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 99 and a low around 78. The heat index value could be as high as 109. On Thursday and Friday, it will be mostly sunny and hot again, with a high near 100 and a low in the 70s. Thursday is also expected to be windy, with gusts as high as 21 mph.

This weekend, temperatures should cool off a little, with a high near 89 and a low around 65 on Saturday. The temperature will drop even further on Sunday, with a high near 79 and a low around 61.

On Monday, Sedalia students’ new first day of school, the high is forecasted to be near 81, along with sunny skies. Monday night’s low should be around 58.