DALLAS — Every year, when the Texas temps reach 100 right before school starts, we reach out to the experts for advice. Experts like highly educated pediatric specialists...and return participants to high school band practices.
In advance of its first Monday morning practice, the Allen High School Band released a video reminder on social media to its estimated 700 members to take the heat seriously.
"It's gonna be hot, so make sure you wear your sunscreen, bring some shades and a hat. And most importantly your water jug," said one member of the band council. "And seriously, bring water," they cheered before also reminding everyone, past experience as proof, to avoid mass quantities of milk for breakfast.
"I think the most important thing to recognize is that kids need to acclimate to the hot environment," said Dr. Troy Smurawa, the director of pediatric sports medicine at Children's Health Andrews Institute for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. In addition to easing students and student-athletes into workouts and practices in summer temperatures, he agrees that plenty of water should be available before, during and after. Regular breaks and plenty of shade should be part of the mix as well.
As most high school sports and extracurricular programs already do in Texas, Smurawa advises schools limit those outdoor practices to the early and evening parts of the day.
And as students return to fields and classrooms, Smurawa says COVID precautions should still be in place, although in outdoor settings, not as stringent as a year ago.
"What we do know now is that it is very low risk of contracting and spreading the virus in an outdoor activity," he said. "But in terms of the vaccine, I think it's important that parents discuss the risk and benefits with their health care provider to see if their athlete or their child if it's appropriate for them to get the vaccine and what that entails."
Smurawa said indoor precautions, as determined by each school district, will remain a good idea. Although he believes that children don't contract COVID as often or as seriously as adults, he reminds parents that the threat is not zero. Social distancing and mask-wearing are still good options to consider as prolonged close-contact remains the most likely means of transmission Smurawa said.
So on the second 100-degree day of 2021, experts, and band camp veterans, remind us that both COVID and the Texas heat deserve their proper precautions...and respect.