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Keeping kids cool in school

Queen Victoria Public School in Windsor, Ont., on Monday, June 17, 2024. (Stefanie Masotti/CTV News Windsor) Queen Victoria Public School in Windsor, Ont., on Monday, June 17, 2024. (Stefanie Masotti/CTV News Windsor)
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Local school boards are trying to reassure parents they are doing what they can to keep students safe during record-breaking scorching temperatures.

“The principal is going to know their students best,” says communication coordinator at the Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board, Stephen Fields. “They're going to know their building best and they're going to know what they need to do in order to make sure their students are staying safe.”

A memo was sent to all staff at the Catholic board Monday morning ensuring they are aware of what steps to take to keep kids safe including reducing the amount of time kids spend outdoors.

“Dizziness, nausea, excessive sweating, and clammy skin,” all signs Fields says teachers are watching out for in their students. “If any kids are suffering from those kinds of heat related illnesses they're taking them to a cool place in the school.”

Fields notes the majority of Catholic schools have some form of air conditioning system but not all. He reassures parents students’ health will never be put at risk.

“There's always a cool place in the school,” he adds. “If a child is suffering from any kind of heat related illnesses, you can get that child to that cooler place, make sure that they're getting some water.”

Fields says a memo was also sent parents reminding them to send kids to school with a water bottle and hat, dress them in loose, breathable clothing and have them wear sunscreen.

Tips the Greater Essex County District School Board also recommends. They also request parents speak with their children about the importance of staying hydrated.

“It’s not just drink when you're thirsty, it's loaded up so that you are hydrated throughout the day,” says public relation officer for the Greater Essex County District School Board, Scott Scantlebury. “All schools have water bottle filling stations so it's readily available at all schools in all our buildings.”

Scantlebury estimates between 75 to 80 per cent of schools have climate control systems that allow students to keep cool.

He says it’s financially challenging to air condition or/and heat all schools across the board.

“Anyone who owns a home understands that and we have nearly 80 of them,” he said. “It's the nature of living in southwestern Ontario.”

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