By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: July 26, 2019 | 1:45 p.m.
DINWIDDIE – Southside Virginia has been baking under the mid-summer sun as temperatures soared to near the century mark through much of last week, leaving those who have to travel outdoors during the days’ hottest moments drenched in sweat in minutes.
That would include bus drivers in the county and even the students who have to ride on the buses on their way home after summer school classes, which led to Dinwiddie County Public Schools’ transportation office staff jumping in to do their part to keep everyone cool and hydrated during last week’s heat wave.
According to DCPS Transportation Director Edward Tucker, as the temperatures began to soar last week, he and his staff headed to the nearby Food Lion and picked up cases of water and ice from the high school cafeteria, stocking coolers with the refreshing drinks to pass out to students, bus drivers, and teachers working bus loading duties at the schools.
“We got about seven to eight cases of water and put it on ice for them and we gave them a bottle of water to try and keep them cool,” Tucker explained. “Those buses can get awful hot during the day with no air.”
With nearly a dozen cases of water, they ensured that all of the over 140 students, along with drivers, those teachers on bus duty had the chance to partake in a cold beverage as temperatures hovered in the 90s and heat indices crept into the 100s.
Similar to construction workers and others who work outdoors with limited access to air conditioning during hot weather, bus drivers have to find ways to stay cool and often have to rely on the winds traveling through the bus’ windows to get some semblance of relief from the heat.
“Some of our drivers use a cool towel around their neck or cold packs,” Tucker explained. “All they can rely on is the windows and the buses have emergency hatches on the roof – some have one, some have two – and we can get a good air flow if you open those and a few windows. The problem is, with the heat the way it is now, you are lucky to get cool air. If you open the windows only, you will get a lot of hot air but, if you open those hatches, it will bring some cool air.”
He added that tinted windows and white roofs on the county’s school bus fleet helps keep temperatures down a bit, as well.
According to Tucker, the students were very appreciative for the water to drink and cool off with during their ride back home last week.
“I had expected a lot of them coming out to maybe have a backpack bottle of water or something cool to drink and they didn’t so we saw every student stop and get a bottle of water along with the drivers,” he said. “There have been times we would worry about [students] misusing water but I think they were opening that water and drinking it as they got on the bus and they were very appreciative.”
“We really try to do good and do right by our kids,” Tucker closed.