Buffalo, NY - Our recent heat wave may be harder to take if you're a kid stuck in a classroom for summer school. That's why local school districts, which provide summer school classes, make sure they do all they can to cool down those buildings and keep an eye on students who may suffer from the excessive heat.
The large industrial fans were up and running in the Iroquois High School where more than 200 students attend summer school as part of an Erie 2 BOCES program.
That's just one of the ways that administrators, teachers, and staff try to cool the building for classes. There's also the open door, open window, open air approach according to Summer Academy Principal Patrick O'Brien at the Iroquois school. O'Brien says "We're fortunate enough to have a great custodial staff that comes here very early in the morning and opens up all of our doors, our windows. That brings that cool air from the evening into the building so that we're able to have a cooler environment that one would expect."
There's also the outdoor classroom idea in an open area like a courtyard or under a tree as O'Brien notes "Many of our staff are actually taking the students outside of the building, under a tree and trying to do some things outside where maybe there's a little bit more of a breeze and in fact sometimes it's even cooler."
Overall districts try to use a common sense cooling policy. Like they try to hold morning classes for summer school to avoid the heat of the afternoon. They also use more first floor classrooms.
There are frequent breaks with water for students and teachers.
And those teachers constantly monitor students to make sure they don't have any problems.
Students who may have an issue can obviously be moved to areas of the school buildings like offices, libraries, and computer rooms which do tend to have air conditioning. O'Brien says "I've had a few students need to come down to an air conditioned office just even this week...not feeling well. Some of it kind of just from the environment outside of the school day. In fact today in particular we had a student that was severely sunburned and was feeling a little bit of the effects of that."
Principal O'Brien says the last time he can remember cancelling summer school classes because of the heat was back in the mid 90''s like 1995 or '96 when the temperature climbed above the mid 90's towards 98 or so. He points out that it can also get pretty hot in late June and September when there are regular classes.
O'Brien adds that more and more teachers are also learning basic first aid as part of their state required courses so they're better prepared to deal with heat related health problems.