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Sununu calls to move school start day back as students begin school during heat advisory 

  • Allenstown Elementary School Principal Ginelle Czerula stands in a darkened second floor hallway Tuesday.

  • First-graders at Allenstown Elementary School work with a giant parachute during gym class on the first day of class Tuesday. Principal Ginelle Czerula said that students will be brought inside for recess today because of the heat. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • Principal Ginelle Czerula talks to the 3rd grade classroom at Allenstown Elementary School on the first day of school on Tuesday, August 28, 2018. “What do you guys like about third grade so far?” the school’s new principal asked a group of kids sitting at small, wooden desks. “Everything!” a few students shouted back. “Everything? You like this heat?” Czerula said, smiling. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Principal Ginelle Czerula talks to the 3rd grade classroom at Allenstown Elementary School on the first day of school on Tuesday, August 28, 2018. “What do you guys like about third grade so far?” the school’s new principal asked a group of kids sitting at small, wooden desks. “Everything!” a few students shouted back. “Everything? You like this heat?” Czerula said, smiling. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Three rotating fans were at
full blast as Ginelle Czerula walked into a classroom at Allenstown Elementary School on Tuesday.

“What do you guys like about third grade so far?” the school’s new principal asked a group of children sitting at small, wooden desks.

“Everything!” a few students shouted back.

“Everything?” Czerula answered back, smiling. “You like this heat?”

Tuesday was the first day of school for students in many schools around the state, including Allenstown, where Czerula is taking the lead at the elementary school this year after former principal Anthony Blinn moved on to Abbot-Downing School in Concord.

Temperatures on Tuesday rose to as high as 94 degrees – around 100 degrees with humidity in Concord, according to the National Weather Service. The uncomfortable temperatures were especially apparent at many of the local schools, which lack air conditioning.

Amid the sweltering heat, Gov. Chris Sununu on Tuesday created a commission to study whether schools should be required to start after Labor Day, a step some other states already have taken. Doing so would reverse a trend in New Hampshire, where the percentage of schools starting after Labor Day has dropped 50 percent in the last decade, and the majority of districts now open before that traditional start date.

Sununu and other proponents of later start dates argue that such changes increase both summer tourism revenue and the opportunity for families to take August vacations. They also argue it could mean more internship and job opportunities for high school students.

The New Hampshire study commission has until Nov. 30 to examine the impact of a post-Labor Day start in nearly a dozen areas, including tourism, academic performance, school athletic programs and tax revenue, according to the governor’s office.

Tuesday was the first day of school for several school districts, including Hopkinton and Merrimack Valley. Bishop Brady started on Monday, and the Concord and Bow school districts start Wednesday.

In Allenstown, teachers said it still felt like summer as they walked past large fans littering the hallways and taught in rooms without air conditioning. Technology specialist Andrea Wyka sighed as she sat preparing for a lesson in her darkened classroom with the lights off and her shades down.

“It’s not generally this hot on day one,” Wyka said.

Wyka said she’s had to modify her first day of school lesson plans, which usually involve using GoNoodle, a company that makes interactive movement games for kids.

“They usually jump around and get their wiggles out – but not in the heat,” Wyka said.

Czerula spent the day walking around and introducing herself during a hot, but low-key first day of school.

“It’s been a great day so far. All of the teachers are saying all of the kids have come back ready to learn – or maybe it’s heat exhaustion,” she joked as she walked through the hallway.

At Penacook Elementary School, Principal Jennifer Moore said kids wouldn’t be playing outside Tuesday or Wednesday.

“We’re just really pushing the water and making sure kids are hydrated,” Moore said. “We’re keeping kids inside for recess because we just do not have a shaded area where it would be safe for them to play.”

Meteorologist Derek Schroeder from the National Weather Service said that temperatures would come close to breaking records. The record temperature for Concord on Tuesday was 96 degrees in 1977, Schroeder said.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.)