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Letter: New West's newest schools can't handle the heat. Now what?

This mom kept her daughter home last week when her classroom was just too hot.
Skwo:wech Elementary School's modern, glass-filled building has no air conditioning to help during heat waves — and it's not working for students and staff, this parent writes.


I am writing about the issue of inadequate measures available to help with the heat in our local elementary school.

My oldest daughter attends Skwo:wech Elementary in Grade 1. Last week she missed an entire week of school because of the hot weather.

We send our kids with water bottles filled with ice and lather on sunscreen, pack hats and dress them in minimal or breathable clothing, but it's not enough.

My daughter last Monday was sent to the office because she felt dizzy. When I picked her up after school she ran to me begging to have a freezie (thank you, PAC); her very large adult water bottle was almost empty, and she was covered in sweat. Her class spends the last part of school outside trying to stay in the shade (which is hard where their pickup area is). They do this because it's too hot in the class.

The next day, before school, she comes up to me covered in a heat rash and itchy. I highly believe this has a lot to do with being stuck in the hot classroom with no escape due to poor design of being a glass building and no AC or alternative relief to help relocate or lessen the heat.

We can't even donate fans for our amazing teachers who are trying their best.

Having the kids outside all day also is not a great idea as an alternative, since by recess all that sunscreen we lather onto our kids has no effect anymore, and I don't expect the teachers to reapply to every kid in the class multiple times a day, each time they are going to go outside.

Last Monday was not the first day of this heat, and it's just going to get worse.

As parents, we received an email from the school board with their plan of action, but this should not be what needs to be done. Both NWSS and Skwo:wech are new and almost completely glass buildings. Why weren't they fit with better systems? Qayqayt has also been talked about being incredibly warm.

I grew up here and attended Spencer. I remember the portables being very warm in June. but the school itself wasn't as bad because it was a brick building — still warm, but we could get away by covering the windows and having fans. 

Sarah Elder

📢 SOUND OFF: Are you a student in New Westminster schools? Do you have a child in a hot classroom? What do you think needs to be done about heat in schools? Let us know — send us a letter.