Temperatures soar inside Boston schools Tuesday as heat wave continues

BOSTON — Teachers across Boston recorded scorching temperatures inside classrooms for the second day in a row. Thermostats in some schools topped 90 degrees Tuesday afternoon, and one classroom reached 100 degrees.

One school nurse described the conditions as unbearable. She’s not the only one describing it that way.

The president of the Boston Teachers Union said it was inundated with hundreds of complaints of classrooms without air conditioning. The school nurse we spoke with said it got so bad at one point that students were evacuated from the building.

“You can’t breathe, you can’t catch your breath, you have to pull your mask down,” said Amie Luna, a school nurse at Philbrick Elementary in Roslindale.

Related: Another day in the 90s leaving some struggling to beat the heat

Luna recorded her third floor office at 88 degrees. She said it got even hotter in a third grade classroom.

“That was on the wall in the classroom, 100 degrees,” she said.

“I’m tired, I’m sweating, I’m nauseous. I have students coming in with the same things, and if I can’t regulate my body temperature, how do I expect them to regulate their body temperature?”

Students ages 3 to 11 at her school were evacuated from the extreme heat at one point. And the same thing happened over at O’Donnell Elementary in East Boston.

“It’s just not an environment anyone should be sitting in, nor trying to learn in,” said Jessica Tang, the president of the Boston Teachers Union.

Tang said the majority of the district’s 125 buildings don’t have air conditioning or HVAC systems and many don’t even have blinds to block the sun.

“The temperature rises, rises, rises, and the inside is definitely hotter than the outside in many of our classrooms,” she said.

Tang added that she advocated for early dismissal like many other districts, which Boston did not opt for.

A BPS spokesperson gave the following statement to Boston 25 News:

“Fans were deployed to schools and school leaders may request more fans to be delivered within two hours of the request. BPS has also worked to make sure that HVAC systems are fully functioning in schools that have them.”

“I don’t know if it’s going to take something severe to happen to a student in order for something to be done,” Luna said.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education did not give schools the option of shifting to remote learning days to manage these scorching temperatures, telling schools they’d have to make it up at the end of the school year. Commissioner Jeffrey Riley did allow the postponement of the MCAS during the heatwave.