Boston plans to keep schools open during expected heat wave

As rising temperatures caused some Massachusetts schools to close their doors, Boston officials said they would turn to fans and bottled water to try and keep their students at their desks Thursday and Friday.

Temperatures are expected to rise above 90 degrees on Thursday as part of an early September heat wave, but district officials said they are taking steps to keep classrooms cool. Boston Public Schools recently announced the successful installation of nearly 4,000 air conditioning units in more than 70 schools as part of a two-year effort.

Still, 14 schools do not yet have air conditioners, according to district spokesman Max Baker. Ten of these schools are in buildings whose electrical systems are too old to support AC units.

For students in schools without AC, staying cool amid the heat will involve fans, water bottles and limited time outdoors.

“We'll make some decisions about what to keep inside and what outside for activities. We're being as proactive as possible with all of it,” School Superintendent Mary Skipper said on Wednesday.

Extreme heat in areas west of Boston caused some districts Wednesday to announce early dismissals and school closures. Temperatures are expected to drop to more seasonal levels by the weekend.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said updating school buildings is a crucial step in avoiding heat-related disruptions as Boston sees higher temperatures for a larger portion of the school year.

“In addition to all of the efforts at every individual school, and all the planning that's happening for these next couple of days, we are also working really hard to just help provide that big picture plan for how we're going to improve and redo many of the buildings and Boston's very, very old building stock,” Wu told reporters at Bruce Bolling Municipal Building in Roxbury.

Headshot of Emily Piper-Vallillo

Emily Piper-Vallillo Education Reporting Fellow
Emily Piper-Vallillo was an Education Reporting Fellow for WBUR.



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