(SAVANNAH) Football players are not the only people who practice in sweltering summer conditions, those who provide half-time entertainment deal with the heat too. There are hundreds of students in Chatham County who will wake up and head off to practice, but it’s not just football players, it’s the marching band too. Both groups fall under the same policy umbrella to prevent them from becoming victims of heat injury. Brandon Tucker is a vice principal at Savannah Arts Academy, says the policy mirrors what football programs in the Savannah Chatham Public School System follow. “In general, you’ll see that many of the things that we advise our band directors to do are very similar to what the athletic programs do…uh, the difference is the bands, of course, what they do ae not quite as intense as some of the activities that go on at football practice, but in general, i mean we advise our band directors to watch the heat indexes.” said Tucker. He adds, “”During the high heat of the day they will go inside and work on the music normal and um, the music elements of the show that they can do indoors.” said Tucker.
but when band directors move their students outside, they adhere to frequent breaks according to Savannah High Band Director, Federico Foster. “” We try to, uh, beat the hottest part of the day, we start at 8:00am, um and we tgry to utilitze the 50 on 10 off, so 50 minutes working, 10 minutes break.” Foster said, adding, ” I’ve been in instances where you have to perform in the , um, God-awful heat and people pass out and thing like that and we’re trying to prevent that.” said Foster.
Heat injury prevention for students begins with the policy fundamentals of frequent breaks, moving indoors, and hydration. Tucker says getting some students to buy into the need for hydration can be tough because you can lead some band members to the water they need, but sometimes you can’t make them drink it, even in the heat. “There’s all sorts of uh, different motives for that, and sometimes they’re concerned about, you know, how they’re perceived by their peers, but we strongly advise them to stay hydrated, especially if they are outdoors, really after, afer 9-to-10 am, it really starts getting hot.” said Tucker. He is encouraging parents to push their kids in band, football, or participating in any outdoor activity when it’s hot to make the intake of fluids and water a priority.