Cold temperatures in school cannot turn on heat

While the temperature outside begins to drop creating a cool fall breeze through the air, the temperature of the school remains cold until Oct 15, the day the heat is turned on.

The chilly temperatures in the classrooms and hallways have caused many teachers and students to complain and wish that it was a little warm inside the school throughout the day. Liv Smith ’16 is one of the many students that think the school is too cold.

“[The heat] should be turned on earlier because it obviously gets colder here earlier than [Oct 15]. They should change it so students are more comfortable,” Smith said.

Principal John Dodig agrees that the school is freezing but said “there’s nothing we can do about.”

While temperatures may vary from classroom to classroom throughout Staples, overall, the entire school maintains a cold breeze. Smith claims that the science hallway is by far the coldest place in school, while Dodig thinks it’s coldest in teacher’s cafeteria. (He said it must have been 62 degrees in there during a meeting making his fingers “numb.”)  Megan Nuzzo ’15 agrees with Dodig and explained that she could feel the cold air blowing on her during lunch.

However the cold air that Nuzzo felt on her is not the air conditioning. While it may seem like the AC is on, the cold air is really only due to the blowers that bring fresh air into the building from outside. When the temperature drops at night, the blowers have to continue bringing fresh air into the school which leads to the chilly atmosphere.

Kevin Watt ’15 thinks that the temperatures of the school is “ridiculous.” and should be representative of the temperature outside and not depend on a particular date.  But according to Dodig, the heat cannot be turned on at the flip of a switch.

When this new school was built, the district had to decide whether to install a two pipe or a four-pipe system. A four-pipe system would allow the school to have heat or air conditioning whenever wanted depending on the weather. However due to the cost, a two-pipe system was installed, which means the school either has air conditioning or heat, but cannot have both at the same time.

The heat goes on not only in Staples, but also throughout all Westport Public Schools on Oct 15. This date, chosen by the district, cannot be changed due to the fact that the boilers have to be cleaned out approximately three – four days before.

While Rebecca Stern, a math teacher at Staples, sometimes has to drink two to three cups of tea a day to keep warm, she still tries to have a positive outlook on the situation.

“I try to be as optimistic as possible assuming that the person who decided on October 15th as the day to turn on the heat used as much information as was available to him/her to decide when an appropriate date to start the heat was,” said Stern.

Nevertheless, until Oct 15, the school will continue to be the same cold temperatures. Dodig sent out an email to all the teachers that advised them to wear warm clothes that can be layered to school.

Megan Nuzzo, ’15, agreed that dressing warmer makes a big difference, but it’s still cold even in long sleeves and long pants.

“I shouldn’t have to be wearing a winter sweater in the middle of September!” she said.