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Heat Fells Glen Rock Elementary School Teacher

Parents and teachers are awaiting a response to the heat issue.
Parents and teachers are awaiting a response to the heat issue. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine

GLEN ROCK, N.J. — Leslie Schraer was upset but not shocked to discover that her daughter’s second-grade teacher at the Richard E. Byrd school fainted from heat exhaustion yesterday.

Although air conditioning was installed in the gym and multi-purpose rooms after Schraer and the Home and School Association (HSA) rallied for them three years ago, district officials "need to finish the job," she said.

Teachers union representative Cynthia Lota said she reached out to Schools Supt. Dr. Paula Valenti yesterday when temperatures exceeded 89 degrees in the Byrd School, where Lota teaches 4th grade.

Valenti quickly provided "relief in the form of cycling in and out of air conditioned spaces in the building... and large containers of ice water," Lota said.

"We have children with asthma, allergies, and there were children feeling ill effects of heat in the classrooms these past few days," she noted.

Valenti told Daily Voice that she visited the elementary schools last week and yesterday -- with a specific eye on Byrd and Central.

"I witnessed lunch time where students were in full play outdoors; playing on slides, basketball, swings, etc.," she wrote in an email. "Classrooms were ventilated with open windows and some/many had fans operating, too."

She recommended staff use an air-conditioned faculty room on the Byrd School second floor for instructional purposes after lunch.

The superintendent also emailed families advising them to send students to school with refillable water bottles.

The facility staff in the schools will actively be monitoring temperatures, she said.

"The topic of air conditioning is on the next agenda of the BOE Operations Committee and I know this topic will also be addressed by the public at the 9/21 BOE meeting," Valenti said.

That meeting begins at 7 p.m.

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