Toronto heat continues as students head back to school

Parents raising issues about weather conditions affecting children in school

The sun shines down on the Jesse Ketchum Public School. Continuing summer heat has caused problems for some students.

Students across the GTA returned from holidays to weather that closely resembled much of summer’s higher-than-average temperatures. This created a problem for some parents of young children.

“My daughter, who just turned five, has been coming home with flushed cheeks, sweaty, cranky and exhausted,” says Renee Kaiman, mother of two who runs a blog, My So-Called Mommy Life.

When her daughter returned home from school last week, Kaiman took to Twitter. She addressed her concerns about Toronto District School Board (TDSB) procedures to deal with extreme weather.

“There needs to be a plan put in place because schools can get insanely hot in the fall and spring,” she said. “Kids can’t focus and it’s just uncomfortable for everyone.”

According to the TDSB Severe Weather operational procedures, in cases of heat, humidity and smog alerts, “staff and students should be vigilant about their level of activity and should take frequent breaks for water in order to remain adequately hydrated.”

The heat alert lasted for much of last week. It led parents to question actions taken when weather affects children and how they are monitored.

“My daughter is in SK in a midtown Toronto TDSB school,” Kaiman says. “There are 28 kids in her class with two teachers. They are by no means in a big class. It’s small and then add in the heat.”

As weather conditions change throughout the day, the safety and welfare of students is a shared responsibility between faculty and parents and guardians.

Kaiman says parents should encourage their children to notify an adult if heat issues arise. “I’ve been dressing her in light clothing and reminding her in the morning before I take her to school to drink her water bottle and refill it at least once to ensure she’s properly hydrated.”

TDSB schools continue to monitor heat alerts throughout September by consulting Environment Canada or Toronto Public Health websites.