A second heat warning within a week is raising concerns over the conditions faced by students and staff at various Winnipeg schools.
Dozens of parents took to social media this week, sounding the alarm over what many say are sweltering hot classrooms. The conditions are made worse with rising temperatures in Manitoba, with numbers reaching above seasonal. Environment Canada says these temperatures could feel close to 38 C across the city throughout the next three days.
Speaking on the rising temperatures, the St. James-Assiniboia School Division said all of its schools are equipped with air conditioning units. In a statement on June 2, manager of facilities Mari Aguirre said air conditioners are a priority for the division. A few of the schools, however, are undergoing a replacement of their units.
“School administration and staff continue to mitigate the impacts of heat by monitoring children closely,” said Aguirre. Caregivers with concerns about their child’s response to the heat may take them home in consultation with school administration.”
For other school divisions, the weather is forcing some creativity in classrooms. Ten schools within the River East Transcona Division do not have air conditioning. In a statement, superintendent Sandra Herbst said hot weather can result in classrooms feeling unpleasant. As a way to navigate concerns related to high temperatures, the division is mulling over some ideas including rotating students into cooler areas – like the basement.
Martin Deck, father of a 12-year-old student at John Henderson Middle School, says his son has complained about the classroom being too hot. Deck eventually picked up his son early from school on Friday.
“How can you effectively learn? When you’re in a 31-degree room with 93 per cent humidity?” Deck asked.
The school falls under the jurisdiction of the River East Transcona School Division. The division did not respond to questions about plans to install AC units in the building.
The province of Manitoba, responsible for schools and education infrastructure, previously announced $13 million to install and upgrade HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems. Education minister Wayne Ewasko said the province is on its way to modernizing school infrastructures.
Sandy Nemeth, president of the Manitoba School Boards Association says the province needs to provide more funding. She said school boards can’t afford to have all of their schools fitted with AC systems, leaving teachers to find their own creative ways to stave off the heat.
– With files from Global’s Rosanna Hempel
- Trudeau offers ‘unreserved’ apology after tribute to man who fought with Nazis
- A record $68M Lotto 6/49 Gold Ball draw is guaranteed tonight. Here’s how it works
- ‘People are freezing’: Hotel-turned-homeless shelter with empty rooms under scrutiny
- Liberals try to strike Hunka recognition from official record. What that means