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The Gillnetter

The Gillnetter

Summer finally showed up: classroom temps spike above 85 degrees

A temperature reading from the main floor at OMaley Middle School shows temps just above 90 degrees.
Sharon Crowley
A temperature reading from the main floor at O’Maley Middle School shows temps just above 90 degrees.

This past week, Gloucester Public Schools has been experiencing a heat wave.

Temperatures inside classrooms at both O’Maley and GHS have climbed, with many classes forced to meet in the air-conditioned library to escape the heat. While some of the administrative offices and other rooms at GHS have air conditioning, most classrooms do not. 

Emily Harney, GHS’s photography and graphic design teacher, was hit with some of the worst of it. “The temperature in the photo room, with 22 students in it, reached 98 degrees,” Harney said. “If you were sitting near the window, you were in a higher temperature versus someone near the door where it was about 6 degrees cooler. We weren’t in there long. We stayed about 15 minutes, didn’t move much, and then we made a move out of here. We walked around outside for some fresh air, and then we made our way to the library.”

Teachers in the science wing didn’t fare much better than the rooms in the main halls. “Yesterday felt like being trapped in a cloud of hot breath,” teacher Alyssa D’Antonio, whose classroom reached temperatures of 84 degrees, said. “Like the earth itself was mouth breathing on me.”

The school nurses expressed worry for the health and safety of the students. “With any heat wave, there’s some concern,” Francesa Genovese, a school nurse, said. “I think it’s not ideal that there’s no plan other than trying our best to stay cool and drink water. I feel like there should be some measure in place for these kinds of things. We did see several heat related illnesses over the week. We tried our best to keep them comfortable, but it’s not the safest of conditions.” 

Richard Francis, a history teacher, has been opening his windows to get air flow after his room reached 86 degrees. However, he says, the school septic tank is undergoing drainage after it set off a capacity alarm. The resulting smell from the operation may make opening windows a less-than-feasible option.

“Not a fan of the heat right now,” said Francis. “It’s difficult for us teachers with rooms on the south facing side of the building. The septic drainage did need to happen after the alarm went off, but it’s unlucky timing.” 

Students reported experiencing extreme heat levels, in all parts of the building. Though the third floor reported the highest temperatures, conditions were not significantly cooler elsewhere.

“On the first floor, the classrooms are hotter than the hallways,” senior Zoe Moriaty said. “It’s impossible to study and learn with the heat, and it just gets worse over the day.”

Senior Kelsy Frontiero voiced concerns about student attire in the heat. “It was really uncomfortable in my yoga class,” Frontiero said. “The class requires you to wear long pants, and it made the day very uncomfortable. Students who had to dress up in formal wear for sports were also having a bad time.”

Principal James Cook has asked teachers with rooms below 80 degrees to lend their classrooms to other classes during free blocks. He has encouraged classes to go to the library and has offered his office to classes of under 10 people. 

Superintendent Ben Lummis expressed concern, but declined a request for an early release due to extreme heat. 

“Unfortunately, summer finally showed up,” Lummis said. “We do have hot days… from time to time. Thankfully in Gloucester it’s typically limited to a few days and should be this time too. While it’s not easy and not comfortable in many of our rooms, an unplanned early release day would be too much of a disruption for the families we serve.”

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About the Contributor
Aurelia Harrison (they/them) is a senior and Editor in Chief for the Gillnetter. Their interests include writing, thinking about writing, music, and talking. They work at The Bookstore of Gloucester on the weekends, are a member of drama club, and love nature walks and famed Colombian pop star Shakira. They have been published in lit journals such as IAMB Magazine and The Empty Inkwell, and have received awards for their poetry and journalism. If you happen to engage Aurelia in conversation about philosophy, The Hunger Games, or Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” album, bring a sleeping mask. You have been warned. Email them at [email protected]  

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