8 people hospitalized for heat illness during Stafford County Public Schools convocation

Blistering heat Friday caused dozens to get sick at a Stafford County Public Schools professional development event.

A spokesperson for the school district said that by 11 a.m. temperatures rose to unmanageable levels. 

A call was made to stop the program immediately, ending Friday morning's convocation at the Fredericksburg Nationals Stadium an hour early because of the heat. The Stafford County Public Schools spokesperson said staff were provided lunch on their way to school buses and began departing the area at 11:30 a.m.

Organizers apparently provided nearly 12,000 bottles of water prior to the event, and accommodations were coordinated for staff members with medical and heat illness symptoms. 

As temperatures rose, the spokesperson said additional water was purchased and brought to the stadium. However, eight people had to be taken to local hospitals for heat illness. And at least 80 others were treated at the scene. 

None of the students at the event required medical attention. 

The event was designed to launch the school division’s new 5-Year strategic plan, dubbed "Elevate Stafford." 

"Stafford Schools is grateful for the assistance of the Fredericksburg City Police and Fire Department, the Stafford County Sheriff's Office and Stafford Fire and EMS, and the Spotsylvania Fire and Rescue Department for their assistance in treating heat-related illnesses," said Sandra K. Osborn, the chief communications officer for Stafford County Public Schools.