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Extra Water Stationed at Concord Schools, Sports Canceled Due to Heat Wave

Water jugs were carted through the front door of the Concord High School on Tuesday and positioned throughout the five-story brick building as indoor temperatures reached above 80 degrees.

With limited air conditioning or climate control in some of the older school buildings, students were urged to stay hydrated as they remain in school this week, said Superintendent Kathleen Murphy during a School Board meeting Tuesday night.

“If it becomes unbearable, I can call an early release but the problem with releasing them in the middle of the day – where are their parents? How will they get home?” Murphy said. “The older kids, I would feel a little bit better sending them home but I have to make decisions based on the youngsters.”

High school principal Tim Herbert sent an email to parents with a list of precautions to take when sending their children to school this week, which included wearing light clothing and sending them to classes with refillable water bottles to utilize the water stations. In addition, many after school athletic activities were canceled.

To prepare for the heat, windows were opened at night to keep the building cool for students arriving in the mornings and sporting events were canceled in the afternoons, Murphy said. At Rundlett Middle School and Concord High School, where air conditioning is limited and only accessible in certain parts of the building, extra water was brought in to encourage kids to stay hydrated.

Complicating matters for the school district is a number of water fountains that are shut off due to higher than acceptable levels of lead.

“I noticed a lot of teachers in the past didn’t have fans but today, I noticed smaller AC units were put in higher levels of the buildings and box fans were set up around the building,” Concord High senior Sophia Anderson said during Tuesday’s meeting. “With the high temperatures this time, I think we did a better job at keeping it nice and cool. Students dressed lightly and we had water bubblers around. It was manageable but it definitely was hot.”

“Teachers had us going outside to sit in the shade during classes, too, so we weren’t in the higher levels of the buildings where it gets very hot,” added senior Van McIver.

Both Anderson and McIver are student representatives to the school board.

Though several water outlets throughout the school district did pass the recent lead testing and were put back online ahead of this week, many remained shut off and parents expressed concern about access to water and the hydration of their children.

Of nearly 1,000 samples taken throughout the district, including Concord High School, Broken Ground School, Beaver Meadow School, Christa McAuliffe School, Mill Brook school, Rundlett Middle School and Abbot-Downing School, 26% of faucets and sinks tested district-wide came back positive for high lead levels, and were taken offline.

“We made it through today and we’ll continue to see how each day goes,” Murphy said.

Source : NHPR