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Boston Teachers Union denounces classroom temperatures amid heat wave, calls for improvements to school HVAC systems

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Amid a dayslong heat wave in Massachusetts, the Boston Teachers Union said Monday temperatures reached above 80 degrees in classrooms and called for improvements to air conditioning in schools.

The union on Monday posted 22 photos to a Facebook album that appeared to show temperatures of upwards of 80 degrees that were recorded inside. It wasn’t clear in which schools the photos were taken.

Boston Public Schools said in a statement that officials are communicating with schools to ensure those without air conditioning systems have “two fans operating in each classroom and learning space.”

BPS also said they have issued guidance with school leaders to suggest limited outdoor activity, frequent water breaks for students, and keeping learning spaces cool by minimizing use of overhead lights and using blinds to block sunlight.

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“BPS has also worked to make sure that HVAC systems are fully functioning in schools that have them,” the statement said. “Additionally, BPS shared guidance with school leaders suggesting that teachers limit outdoor activity, schedule cool-down breaks for students between lessons, and distance students so they may remove their masks whenever possible. There is a large supply of water for students to drink at each school and we ask that educators keep students hydrated with frequent water breaks throughout the day, regardless of activity level. BPS also encouraged school leaders and staff to take measures to keep learning spaces cool including minimizing the use of overhead lights, opening windows and operating fans, and closing shades and blinds to block sunlight.”

Boston reached 90 degrees for the fourth day in a row, marking the first official heat wave of the season. At 1 p.m. on Tuesday, it was 93 degrees in Boston, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Alan Durham, and temperatures in eastern Massachusetts ranged from 92 to 94 degrees.

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In anticipation of the scorching heat, some school districts said over the weekend that they would be releasing students early on Monday and Tuesday.

Students at Worcester Public Schools were released three hours early on Monday and Tuesday, and students in Lexington, Wellesley, Stoneham, Winchester, Braintree, Springfield, Watertown, Lowell, Wilmington, Westford, and Holyoke were also dismissed early due to the heat.

All after-school activities were canceled for Boston students, according to BPS.


Globe correspondent Nick Stoico contributed to this report.


Amanda Kaufman can be reached at amanda.kaufman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandakauf1.