After extending the school year to make-up snow days, some officials are hoping to avoid canceling class because of the heat on Monday.
In Glastonbury, the superintendent said a shortened day is out of the question.
“That’s time we’re giving up that we can’t be teaching so we’re going try to make the best use of the time that we have,” Dr. Alan Bookman, Glastonbury school superintendent, explained.
Given that school won’t be out for the summer until the middle of next week, Dr. Bookman said they’re lucky Monday is the only day they’ll have to deal with extreme temperatures.
“We were very concerned about this year more than any other year because we’re going so late into the year and you can get those hot days easily in May and June but once you get into mid-June time you’re concerned about having a long stretch of very hot days,” said Bookman.
So, for one day, Glastonbury students will have to tough it out. While he recognizes that a triple-digit heat index can be as uncomfortable as freezing temperatures, Bookman doesn’t expect the weather to be a distraction or a safety issue.
“For the most part, students are relatively resilient as far as the heat is concerned, not comfortable but resilient,” said Bookman.
Rather than canceling school or shortening the day, extra steps will be taken to keep classrooms cool.
“Sometimes they will provide some popsicles for students are particular times, we let students bring water bottles in at all grade levels,” he explained. “I would doubt that students will be going outside for any kind of recess or lunch break on Monday.”
Monday should be the last time most Glastonbury students have to learn in warm classrooms. With the exception of the sixth-grade building, Gideon Wells, all of the district’s nine schools will have air conditioning by the start of the next school year.
NBC Connecticut contacted more than two dozen school districts on Friday. Most school officials say they would wait until Monday to make a final decision on whether to call for an early dismissal. However, Bridgeport and Windsor public schools made the call Friday to have a shortened day. Southington’s superintendent also notified parents and teachers that an early dismissal for the elementary schools is a possibility.
In Waterbury, officials said it will be business as usual on Monday. The district has 32 schools and half of them don’t have central air.
“Others have air conditioning in a room or two rooms. Some air conditioning through window units,” explained Robert Brenker, Waterbury’s director of personnel for education.
However, he said century-old buildings like Washington, built in 1887, and Kingsbury can’t handle those units.
“In some areas we cannot plug in an air conditioner that would draw more amps than the building can handle.”
Without air conditioning, Brenker said every fan the district owns will be deployed on Monday, windows will be opened, and students will be funneled through the coolest parts of the buildings if necessary. He said each school has at least one air-conditioned area.
“Some have a cafeteria area that’s cooled so students can be cycled in an out of the day heats up too much,” said Brenker.
He pointed out that the older buildings take longer to heat up due to their solid stone and brick construction. So, he doesn’t expect Monday’s soaring temperatures to be too much of a distraction.
“Kids are going to go to school, regular day scheduled to go,” he said.