Heat wave puts the brakes on outdoor athletics at CVU

HINESBURG – While the recent heat wave has many people reveling in a few extra days of summer, it has caused a few hiccups for the fall athletes at Champlain Valley Union High School.

With temperatures veering close to and into the 90s on Monday and Tuesday and that trend expected to continue on Wednesday, CVU activities director Dan Shepardson has cancelled all games (except volleyball, an indoor sport) for those three days.

“It’s about the safety and well-being of students,” Shepardson said. “Why would you want to put students in a bad situation?”

The Vermont Principals’ Association Heat Guidelines, introduced in 2014, rely on an index called the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT), which takes into account temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle and cloud cover. According to the VPA, whenever the WBGT hits 86.1 or above there can be no outdoor workouts.

Monday at 3 p.m. – the time when most practices or games would be scheduled to start – the reading at the Hinesburg high school was 88, Shepardson said.

“If we have cloud cover or wind cover, that would drop it a lot,” Shepardson said. “But we are 0-for-2 on that.”

With the temperature readings that high and teams only able to get on the field around 5:30 p.m., Shepardson talked to schools across the state and decided to reschedule the games. With long trips to Saint Johnsbury and Mount Anthony on the slate for the soccer teams, late starts would have made it hard to fit games in before daylight ran out and get students back home at a reasonable time, Shepardson said.

Teams are still being allowed to practice but must do so in the morning or after 5:30 p.m. when the WGBT has dropped into a reasonable temperature. With the heat, though, there are still modifications that need to be made, like more water breaks and no equipment for football.
High temperatures expected to dissipate on Thursday so practices and games should return to normal for the Redhawks.

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