Eight people were taken to the hospital and dozens more treated Friday after suffering heat-related illness at the Stafford County Public Schools 2022 convocation.
About 4,300 staff members gathered at 9:30 a.m. in the Fredericksburg National’s stadium where they heard an address from motivational speaker Hamish Brewer (a former Stafford and Prince William schools employee), and watched a presentation from the color guard, cheerleaders and five marching bands.
By 11 a.m., “temperatures rose to unmanageable levels,” the school division said in a news release. Officials immediately stopped the event, an hour before it was scheduled to end.
Eight people were taken to the hospital and about 80 more treated for heat-related illness, the release said.
In planning for the event, organizers provided nearly 12,000 bottles of water.
“As temperatures rose, additional water was purchased and brought to the stadium,” the release said.
None of the students attending the event required medical attention.
Remaining staff were provided lunch on their way to school buses and began departing at 11:30 a.m.
The event was designed to launch the school division’s new five-year strategic plan, “Elevate Stafford.”
“Stafford County Public Schools aims to inspire and empower every student so that they are prepared to excel in life,” the release said. “The goals of this plan are to support meaningful post-secondary outcomes, high expectations for academic performance, safe and welcoming learning environments, and investing in all staff.”
Despite the heat illnesses, school staffers made donations as the convocation ended to the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank, providing 1,041 meals in the community.