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Toronto students feeling the heat in stifling classrooms

Last Updated Sep 25, 2017 at 8:45 pm EDT

Parents at a public school in Toronto are concerned their children are feeling the current heat wave more than usual due to construction blocking school windows.

“I walked into the classroom and I could feel the heat coming out of the classroom,” said Marvin Kaye, whose daughter attends Grade 4 at Rawlinson Community School, near St. Clair Avenue West and Dufferin Street.

Kaye said when he asked his daughter’s teacher about the conditions inside the classroom, she told him the temperature was hovering around 30 C during the day.

“I can’t imagine what eight- and nine-year-olds are like after a few hours in 30-plus heat,”  he said.

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) said the school has been going through a significant renewal project for the last two years, and some classroom windows have been boarded up with only a small gap for air to come through.

“We would love to complete the work in the summer when students aren’t there, but the fact is with 584 schools, some of those schools needing significant maintenance and repair, it’s not possible to cram it all into July and August,” said TDSB spokesman Ryan Bird.

He said the classrooms have been provided with fans, and students are relocated to cooler areas like the basement when possible. But he added the challenge of keeping schools cool during extreme heat alert is city-wide, with only 125 of 584 schools air conditioned.

“The fact is, it is a very hot day and we’re doing the best we can given the circumstances were faced with,” he said.

Kaye argued that’s not good enough.

“Why isn’t there an air conditioner? Why not take the construction off the windows and let them get some air in there?” he said. “It seems like an incredible lack of rational thought.”

Meanwhile, the TDSB cancelled all outdoor activities for both Monday and Tuesday due to the extreme heat.


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TDSB takes steps to help students beat the heat