With temperatures reaching the mid-90s this past week, it’s been a hot transition for students heading back to class for the new school year. But every Cranston school building has at least some areas with air conditioning units, said Superintendent Jeannine Nota, and they have been rotating students as best as they can to keep them as comfortable as possible.
There is one school, Edgewood Highland Elementary, which was renovated in recent years and has central air conditioning, said Buildings Director Ed Collins. And although that’s the only one with central air, he added that the other schools in the city either have window units or small areas with central air.
Nota said that the administration has asked students to rotate classes to those areas, especially if they are bigger places like libraries and auditoriums, so students don’t have to sit in the heat for long periods at a time. She also said teachers have been told to make sure the kids have water, keep the lights off as much as possible, and use fans when they can.
She said that the situation isn’t “ideal,” but they have to deal with it until they’re “able to renovate and get some new buildings,” although that may be a ways off.
As for any thought of early dismissal in the past few days, Nota said they did hear complaints from parents about the heat, but doing a half-day that would be “a safety issue.”
“It would become a very dangerous safety concern if students were let out and parents weren’t aware, or didn’t have a backup plan,” she said. “Then they’re home in the eat and either way, it’s hot.”
She also said that doing an early release this early in the school year is tough because schools might not have every student’s information card with all of their contacts yet, and there’s already a larger number of days off in September than other months.
She said there’s “no easy answer” either way, and she’s received both criticism and praise for deciding to do full days with the students. She said the “vast majority” is happy school wasn’t cancelled.
Other than the warm temperatures, Nota said the school opening this year has gone well and there’s been great attendance so far.