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Hot weather complicates back-to-school for some students in Westchester County

Heat creates problems for New York schools without air conditioning
Heat creates problems for New York schools without air conditioning 01:58

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - This stretch of hot weather is coinciding with back-to-school for hundreds of thousands of students

In White Plains, these conditions add a layer of complexity as kids return to classrooms. 

The September sun had some students seeking shade, and made a water bottle a key back-to-school accessory during recess at Eastview School in White Plains, with staff carefully watching to keep the students.

"They hydrate before coming out. They hydrate when they go back in," Principal Leroy Dixon said. 

Most classrooms have no air conditioning. It was 87 degrees inside one classroom on the third floor. On days like Wednesday, the auditorium and other air conditioned spaces are used as cooling centers. 

"These students now will be going into their classrooms, and the teachers have the ability to go to a cooling center. That's been pre-established," Dixon said. 

There will be relief for future heatwaves - air conditioning is coming to the classrooms. The district is using $10 million in federal pandemic funds to upgrade HVAC district-wide. Units are being installed to cool classrooms, and purify the air. 

"It will also have occupancy sensors, so that when people are in that building, or out of the classroom, it will turn on and off. So, energy efficiency," Director of Facilities and Operations Frank Stefanelli said. 

" [Of] course we could have used it coming online about five days ago, but it's near completion here at Eastview, and it's really going to help in the future," White Plains Superintendent Dr. Joseph Ricca said. 

It's a hot start to the '23-'24 school year - keep those water bottles handy. 

A handful of north suburban school districts, including Stamford, Conn., are dismissing early this week due to the heat. 

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