Safety Tip of the Week: Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness

Sunglasses resting on sand with setting sun

This week as we look forward to the summer, Safety and Risk Reduction Manager Wendy Couture shares information to make sure we are familiar with the hazards of heat-related illness. It is important to be aware of the potential hazards that summer brings. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has provided these tips to help us stay safe!

Stay Cool

Wear Appropriate Clothing: Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

Stay Cool Indoors: Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library—even a few hours spent in air-conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.

  • Keep in mind: Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, they will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off. Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.

Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully: Try to limit your outdoor activity to when it’s coolest, such as morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas so that your body has a chance to recover.

Pace Yourself: Cut down on exercise during the heat. If you’re not accustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area or into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak or faint.

Wear Sunscreen: Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.

  • Tip: Look for sunscreens that say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels.

Do Not Leave Children in Cars: Cars can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked open. While anyone left in a parked car is at risk, children are especially at risk of getting a heat stroke or dying. When traveling with children, remember to do the following:

  • Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
  • To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.
  • When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.

Stay Hydrated

Drink Plenty of Fluids: Drink more fluids, regardless of how active you are. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.

  • Warning: If your doctor limits the amount you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Stay away from very sugary or alcoholic drinks—these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.

Replace Salt and Minerals: Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body that need to be replaced. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.

  • If you are on a low-salt diet, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic conditions, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.

Keep Your Pets Hydrated: Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, and leave the water in a shady area.

Stay Informed

Check for Updates: Check your local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips and to learn about any cooling shelters in your area.

Know the Signs: Learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and how to treat them.

Use a Buddy System: When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness. If you are 65 years of age or older, have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat wave. If you know someone in this age group, check on them at least twice a day.

Monitor Those at High Risk: Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others:

  • Infants and young children
  • People 65 years of age or older
  • People who are overweight
  • People who overexert during work or exercise
  • People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation

Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.

Graduation dates and information

Photo of Avanti HS 2016 graduation capGraduation season is upon us! The following are a list of this year’s graduation dates, times and locations, as well as information about which ceremonies are open to all district employees to attend. Congratulations to the many staff around the district who have worked with students in the Class of 2018!

Wednesday, June 6

Olympia Regional Learning Academy, 6 p.m., Indian Summer Country Club.

Due to limited space at this venue, the ORLA graduation is not open to all district employees

Thursday, June 7

Avanti High School, 6 p.m., Knox Auditorium.

The auditorium has limited space, so if district staff are interested in attending, they should contact the Avanti HS office at (360) 596-7900 to inquire about tickets.

 Friday, June 8

Transition Academy, 7 p.m., Knox Auditorium.

This graduation is open to all district staff (no ticket needed for staff members with their OSD badge). Teachers and other staff who have worked with Transition Program students throughout their time in the district are encouraged to attend. Reception to follow in the board room.

 Wednesday, June 13

Olympia High School, 7 p.m., St. Martin’s Pavilion.

District employees interested in attending this graduation are welcome, on a space available basis, and need to RSVP to Wendy Rae at  if interested in attending. Employees who attend need to wear their OSD ID badge and tell the usher they are to sit in the faculty/staff section.

Thursday, June 14

Capital High School, 7 p.m., St. Martin’s Pavilion.

District employees interested in attending this graduation are welcome, on a space available basis, and need to RSVP to Suzanne Bowser at if interested in attending. Employees who attend need to wear their OSD ID badge and tell the usher they are to sit in the faculty/staff section.


Student representative Ainsley Austin honored at final school board meeting

Student board representative Ainsley Austin smiles after being presented with flowers at the final school board meeting of her tenure as student rep.Avanti High School student Ainsley Austin received flowers, heartfelt thanks and a standing ovation on May 21 during her final school board meeting as student representative on the Olympia School District Board of Directors.

Austin attended board meetings this past year, met with student leaders, and worked tirelessly to be a strong advocate for our nearly 10,000 students.

Thank you, Ainsley, for all that you did this year!

Meet our new OSD Everyday Hero

Everyday Heroes Logo with the words: Celebrating OSD EmployeesThank you to all who continue to submit names of employees districtwide who have done something deserving of encouragement and praise. Remember to give a shout out to one of your colleagues at your school or support building and watch for it to appear in an upcoming Everyday Heroes blog post.

Here is our latest honoree:

Everyday Hero
Todd Thornton, Custodian, Roosevelt Elementary
“Todd, you are a rock star custodian! You keep our building clean, neat, and in excellent repair. Every day you come to work with a positive attitude. Whenever we need something, our requests are met with a smile and a timely response. While you already have more than enough work to do, you frequently go above and beyond your expected duties, often anticipating our needs and taking care of things before we even ask! You look out for everyone in the building, including students and staff. Our building has never looked so good, and the credit for that goes to you and your custodial staff. Thank you for working so hard for our school and doing such a great job. You are an important part of what makes Roosevelt such a great place to be.”
Submitted by Jean Schuna

How to nominate an Everyday Hero

  • Email the Communications and Community Relations Department ( a few sentences, and no more than 200 words, about why the person deserves recognition. It’s easiest to write as if speaking directly to the colleague, such as “Thank you for helping with…” or “I really appreciated when you…”
  • Write Everyday Heroes in the subject heading of the email.
  • Include your first and last name as the person submitting the comments.
  • Include the first and last name of the OSD employee you are recognizing.
  • Include the job title and work location (school or department) of the person you are recognizing.

Memorial and celebration of life for Shannon Garrett set for June 9

Pink flowers against green leaves, likely blooming on an outdoor bushA memorial and celebration of life will be held by family and friends of former Capital High School health room assistant Shannon Garrett, who passed away on May 8, 2018 from an extended illness.

The remembrance will be held at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 9 at the Woman’s Club of Olympia, 1002 Washington St. S.E. in Olympia. There will be a potluck, and the family requests guests bring “a dish you know Mom loved or one you would love to share.”

The family also shares the following: “It will be a time to mourn, share memories, see old friends, heal ourselves and sing and celebrate the life of an incredible woman whose radiant love touched all of us deeply and changed each of our lives for the better. Come as you are in whatever attire, casual or dress, so you can just be the you she loved and cherished.”

Certificated Staff: Learn about new credit card memorandum of understanding

Man typing on laptop computerThe following is a message from the Business Office:

Shortly, certificated staff will see a new screen upon logging into Skyward.  This is an electronic form to replace a paper form that the auditor requires annually. The form is the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for use of a district credit card via the Skyward online forms process. Once you fill out the form and electronically sign, this screen will disappear when you next login to Skyward.

Why is the district doing this?

In the 2015-16 Accountability Audit the State Auditor’s Office (SAO) found evidence that credit card procedures established by the district were not being followed. The findings included:  use of district credit cards on online shopping accounts (such as Amazon) personally registered to an employee and not linked to the district; personal charges being charged on the district credit cards; and cash or cash equivalent being purchased (gift cards & stamps) on district credit cards.

Response to Audit?

Following each audit, a school district must complete a proposed action statement to mitigate audit concerns. OSD reviewed the credit card MOU and found the form to be out of date. We also found that our process for collecting MOUs is inefficient and haphazard.  With the help of the SAO and the OSD District Accounting Advisory Committee, we have established a new form and method of completion that we hope is faster, and more instructive, for all involved.

How does this impact me?

In the next couple of weeks, certificated staff will be prompted with a Required Form Completion screen in Skyward. Skyward will prompt you to complete the new Credit Card MOU by clicking on the form, reviewing each requirement and clicking ‘yes’ that you understand, and electronically “signing” and submitting the form. With the completion of this form you will be authorized to utilize the district credit card.  Annually the district will send the MOU electronically to you via Skyward and request that you complete the form. The form is required to be completed prior to using the district credit card (Principals, office professionals and Knox staff have already been through this process).

Administrative staff will be verifying staff have completed the MOU beginning in Fall of 2018. Unfortunately, failing to complete the MOU will result in loss of credit card privileges in the future. If you fill out this form now, unanticipated travel or impromptu credit card use will be much more smooth if it crops up.

We do understand you may have questions or concerns on this process. Please feel free to contact Business Services at Ext. 6120 with your questions, or send an email to

Importantly, the Help Desk is ready to take calls on how to complete this form.  If you have questions as you fill out the form, please call 6172 and they can help you quickly.

We hope this is a quick and efficient way to get some of our annual paperwork out of the way. Office personnel do not have to distribute forms, you do not have to remember to hand in your form, and no one has to manually roll-up which forms are still missing. All of this can be electronic. Please do not hesitate to contact the Help Desk at 6172, or Business Services at .

Thank you for your help in reaching compliance with audit requirements.

Empty teacher webpages to be archived beginning July 1, 2018

Lincoln Teacher Caron Stehr's Web page on the SchoolMessenger websiteThe end of the 2017-18 school year is right around the corner. As we prepare for summer break, all teacher pages created when we rolled out the new School Messenger websites this past October are being reviewed.

As we review individual teacher pages it has become evident that many have not been updated since they were created and are pages of blank content. Come July 1, the Communications Department will be reviewing all teacher pages and hiding (archiving) pages which have no content on the page. This does not mean the pages will be deleted — rather, simply hidden from public view. If at some point down the road you have interest in pushing content to your teacher page, you simply need to contact the Communications Department at (360) 596-6103 or to have the page reposted and made available to the public.

The reason for unposting these pages is to avoid confusion for our families who are expecting content on teacher pages. This is just best practice. We are aware that there are other options available to teachers (i.e. Schoology) that may be a better fit than a traditional teacher webpage. That is great! We just want to make sure our families have access to updated, accurate content, regardless of platform.

Any hidden teacher pages can be easily recovered should anyone change their mind. If you don’t have any content on your pages currently, but were planning on pushing content out to your page over the summer, please let us know so we don’t hide/archive your page.

If it has been a while since you’ve worked on your page and you need a refresher on how to work in the School Messenger platform, take a few minutes to review these screencasts. They should help answer some of the basic questions you may run into when creating content for your page. These screencasts are posted on the OSD Intranet, so you will be prompted to log in to the site when accessing the videos. Please remember to log in using your district associated Google credentials.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact the OSD Communications Department at (360) 596-6103 or We will be available throughout the summer months. Thank you!