Students and teachers look to stay cool in hot schools

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The warm spring weather has schools turning on their air conditioners, but many school buildings are not equipped with air conditioning. The staff at the 90 year-old Bowe Elementary School in Chicopee have to be creative to keep the classes cool and functioning. Teachers have had to come up with ways to compensate for the lack of A/C.

“I keep my windows open, and the shades are pulled down so the sun doesn’t come into the classroom. And then, we keep the lights off, so that the heat from the lights doesn’t come down on them,” fifth grade teacher Melanie Boutin said.

There is also a water bottle at every desk, either supplied by the school or the students. Fifth grader Sophia Siryk told 22News that the water makes a big difference.

“It’s important that they let us bring in water, because if we don’t bring in water, we sweat a lot, and we don’t get hydrated; and that can lead to a lot of bad things,” Siryk said.

Principal David Drogan has led other schools where there is no air conditioning. He knows ways to minimize any negative aspects of too much warmth and humidity.

“We do our best to make sure they’re not bursting with a lot of excess energy whether they’re outside at the playground or in school or in recess; trying to keep them as contained at possible,” Drogan said.

The school’s parent teacher organization contributes to the comfort level by distributing cool treats like popsicles to the students and the teachers.

The “keep cool” tactics are usually needed in June. But this year, the big heat arrived a few weeks earlier than usual.

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