FRAMINGHAM – Several parents and community leaders were calling for Framingham Public School District Superintendent Bob Tremblay to call a half day today, June 8, due to the excessive heat or move to remote learning.
Tuesday was the third consecutive day of temperatures above 90 degrees and the first heatwave of 2021.
“Regrettably the District cannot shift to remote teaching and learning because the days no longer count under the DESE regulations and would therefore have to be made up at the end of the school year,” explained Superintendent Bob Tremblay.
Tremblay said parents always have the “right to keep their children at home and I would happily excuse the absences.”
In regards to half days, “half of our schools have air conditioning and half do not, calling a half day for students comes with significant impacts,” said the Superintendent of a district of more than 9,000 students.
“The likelihood of students going into unairconditioned homes when they could, instead, be in cooled spaces at their school given that half of our school buildings are air-conditioned,” was one issue, explained Supt. Tremblay.
Wilson Elementary School for example is a school that has air-conditioning and is located in a neighborhood where not every home has air conditioning.
Then there is the “potential for unsupervised children at home, especially for families who cannot get relief from work,” said Supt. Tremblay.
Unexpected half days and early releases are an issue for working parents, according to many studies.
Finally, “food security for students as take-home lunches cannot be provided because of food custody issues. Some students may go without a meal as a result of an early release,” said the Superintendent.
“Once we start to cancel classes at a certain temperature, we will always have to cancel moving forward and then add those days to the end of the year when the weather is even hotter,” said Tremblay, who wished he had a better solution.
One option may be to install more air conditioning in all the schools.
The School Committee and the administration submitted a capital request two years in a row for the Spicer administration for air conditioning at McCarthy Elementary School, and for the second consecutive year it was not a part of the plan.
Within the last couple of years the School Committee, the Spicer Administration, and the City Council approved air conditioning at Framingham High.