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Managing excessive heat in schools

Unless the Principal or Regional Director determines that the school must temporarily close due to a disaster or emergency situation, Queensland state schools remain open and students are not sent home during periods of excessive heat or heat wave conditions.

Heatwave conditions are specifically when excessively high temperatures combine with high humidity levels and are sustained over a number of days. That means, although the predicted maximum temperature for a region may be in the mid-to-high 30s, unless this coincides with high humidity and lasts for a few days, it is considered 'hot' rather than a 'heat wave'.

People are most at risk during extreme heat conditions when the temperatures reach about 5 degrees Celsius above the average for sustained periods of time. In South East Queensland, the Bureau of Meteorology will issue advice to the Department of Health when apparent temperatures are forecast to exceed 35 in Brisbane and 37 in Amberley, for at least two consecutive days.

Heat-related conditions cover a wide range of symptoms ranging from swelling of hands and feet, prickly heat occurring in acclimatised people and heat cramps, through to heat exhaustion, to the more severe and potentially fatal heatstroke. See Department of Health Heat event External Link information.

Animals in the care of a school can also be affected by heat-related illness. Animals should be monitored and sufficient food, water and shelter provided to safeguard their welfare.


Managing schools during excessive heat or heat wave conditions:

For further information, refer to the Managing excessive heat in schools Microsoft® Word document408K guidelines.

Playing and exercising safely in hot weather

Factors to consider when cancelling or postponing a sporting event include but are not limited to:

If the ambient temperature is between 31 and 35 degrees Celsius and the relative humidity is over 30 per cent, planned vigorous, sustained activity may be limited in intensity or duration to less than 60 minutes per session.

If the ambient temperature is over 36 degrees Celsius and the relative humidity is over 25 per cent, planned vigorous, sustained activity may be postponed to a cooler part of the day or even cancelled.

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This page was last reviewed on 12 Jan 2017 at 09:59AM

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