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White Plains Students Sweat in School

This week's heat wave has forced White Plains schools to invent creative cooling methods.

Ridgeway Elementary School nixed holding a traditional recess today, according to Assistant Principal, Inas Morsi.

“Students went outside and sat in the shade with books,” Morsi said. “There was an announcement that went out yesterday asking students to bring water bottles, and many did ... It worked out perfectly that today was an early release, but tomorrow will be a long, hot day.”

Most local schools, including Ridgeway, cool their offices, but do not have air conditioning in student areas.

Ridgeway has air conditioning in its offices, library, special education rooms, and a few classrooms. Church Street Elementary School also lacks air conditioning in its classrooms, cafeteria and gym. Other White Plains public schools and district officials did not respond to calls before deadline.

The temperature has climbed to 91 degrees today and weather reports say it may reach 96 degrees Thursday. Friday's forecast predicts the temperature will drop down to at least 80 degrees, according to the National Weather Service . This temperature spike has made dimming classroom lights, cranking fans, and asking students to stay hydrated is the norm at local schools such as Church Street.

Shelley Adlman, a teacher at Church Street, said the school has also been holding five-minute “cooling off” periods and handing students damp towels when they come in from recess.

Archbishop Stepinac High School students have been finding excuses to come into the air conditioned offices today, according to its Director of Institutional Advancement, Paul Thomas.

“I’ve seen a lot of classrooms with the lights off,” said Thomas. “We’ve relaxed our dress code until the weather breaks, so students can wear shorts and T-shirts.”

Stepinac classrooms don’t have ceiling fans or air conditioning. Their gym and cafeteria have big corner fans, but also lack ceiling fans.

Although the New York School for the Deaf has air conditioned classrooms, the school is fundraising to outfit its cafeteria and gym with air conditioning units as well.

“We have our end of the year party today and we scoped out our entire campus to find some shady areas because we usually have our party in the cafeteria, but it’s too hot,” said the school’s Director of Communication, Arlene Rice. “We have mandatory summer school for our kids ... It gets almost inhuman, so we’re raising money right now to adjust that.”

For now, big fans are chilling the cafeteria and teachers are holding less physically strenuous gym classes in cooler areas around the school.

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