Thousands of local students slated to head back to campuses today will see clear, sunny skies and more scorching temperatures.
“The story of this week is more of the same — it’s looking to stay hot and dry for the next seven days,” meteorologist Jason Godwin said. “We are not looking at record heat, but definitely a bit above normal, even for August.”
The high temperature is expected to be about 100 degrees and that heat index will hold through the rest of week, with lows in the mid-70s, according to the National Weather Service.
Godwin said children heading back to school should stay hydrated and out of the heat as much as possible.
Some students, like second-grader Israel Garza, will stay cool in the heat with a fresh haircut, provided by GQ Cuts A Gentlemen’s Barbershop, as part of a free back-to-school event Sunday at Kingdom Life Church in Killeen.
“We just wanted to give back to the community, help out parents with haircuts and put smiles on kid’s faces,” said Quinton Wright, a GQ Cuts barber.
Many parents at the church event seemed grateful for the complimentary cuts, as well as the free school supplies and meal provided to attendees by Kingdom Life Church.
Pastor Charles Reed said he felt it was important to provide parents a last-ditch effort to get everything needed for their child, including things they might not be able to afford for the start of school.
“We are very blessed to be able to come to events like this,” said Cacilia Garza, Israel’s mother, who has five children. “This week was tough getting them ready to go back so things like this help.”
First-grader Josiah and his brother, kindergartner Ezekiel, are both excited for the start of the school year, as is their mother Lori Gonzales.
“I am ready for them to go back,” Gonzales said with a laugh.
The Killeen Independent School District will welcome back nearly 45,000 students and Salado ISD has an expected enrollment of 1,904 students who will also return to campuses today.
Motorists should expect transportation delays in these early days of the new school year, according to KISD Chief Communications Officer Terry Abbott.
“With new students, new bus drivers and new bus routes and more congested traffic conditions, it is normal for there to be pickup and drop-off delays,” Abbott said in an Aug. 24 news release. “Safety is always our highest priority.”
Local drivers should remember to watch out for student pedestrians and children congregating near bus stops. They should also be prepared for children who might dart into traffic without looking while passing through school zones, according to a Harker Heights Police Department news release Aug. 23.
The HHPD said it will be authorizing extra officers to work school zone enforcement and that fines for moving violations, such as texting, may be doubled.
Safety advice for adults aside, Reed said he advises children heading into the new school year to believe in themselves.
“Whatever you set your mind to, whatever you want to do, you can do it,” Reed said.