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How Winnipeg schools are dealing with the heat

As Winnipeg continues to deal with extreme heat and humidity, a number of school divisions around the city are taking steps to keep staff and students safe.

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, a hot and humid air mass is causing daytime highs in the low 30s, and overnight lows in the upper teens and low 20s. On top of this, humidity is pushing the humidex values into the upper 30s.

CTV News Winnipeg has reached out to school divisions in Winnipeg to find out how they're dealing with heat warnings and keeping students and staff cool.


To deal with these temperatures, the Winnipeg School Division (WSD) said its advice to schools and families is to follow the Workplace Health and Safety guidelines. This includes wearing loose clothes and drinking lots of water.

Staff are monitoring for signs of heat stress and ensuring that everyone is taking precautions, including using fans, moving classes to cooler parts of the schools, and making sure people take breaks. Certain activities, including physical education, may be rescheduled to take place earlier in the day.

The WSD said fans are provided throughout the schools, but teachers can bring CSA-approved fans as well. The division’s building department is also starting the daily air exchange earlier in the morning.

The WSD has 42 facilities with full air conditioning, 27 without air conditioning, and 16 that are partially air-conditioned.


In a statement, Mari Aguirre, manager of facilities and future development for the St. James-Assiniboia School Division (SJASD), said air conditioning is a priority.

All schools in the division have air conditioning; however, the air conditioning units are being repaired and replaced at a few schools.

Staff at the schools with partial or inoperative air conditioning are taking a number of steps to deal with the heat including closing blinds and windows; limiting intensive physical activity; ensuring everyone has access to water; and watching for signs and symptoms of heat stress. Maintenance crews are also working to bring in cool air from the ventilation system at night.

School administrators and staff are monitoring children closely. Caregivers with any concerns about their child’s response to heat can take them home in consultation with school administrators.


Sandra Herbst, superintendent and CEO of the River East Transcona School Division (RETSD), said school staff are working to mitigate the impact of the heat.

Herbst added that principals meet with staff to discuss ways to deal with temperatures, which could include:

  • Rotating classes through spaces that are air-conditioned or cooler;
  • Using shady spaces when engaging in outdoor learning;
  • Ensuring students stay hydrated;
  • Bringing in portable fans;
  • Running fans overnight;
  • Monitoring students for heat stress;
  • Choosing learning activities that are appropriate for the weather;
  • Getting students to run cool water over their wrists;
  • Reminding students to tell an adult if they are feeling unwell.

Herbst noted that parents and caregivers rely on schools to stay open, but some people may choose to keep their kids at home due to the heat.


The Pembina Trails School Division said it’s following Workplace Health and Safety Guidelines and reminding students and staff to drink lots of water and wear loose, lightweight clothing.

Staff members are on alert and monitoring for signs of heat stress. They are also reminding students to take hydration breaks and to bring water bottles to school. Some school activities may be adjusted due to the weather.

The division noted that the monitoring and repair of the HVAC infrastructure in its buildings are ongoing. The facilities and operations department is doing all it can to keep things running. Top Stories

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