Hot, but smooth start to schools

Posted 9/7/23

It was a hot start for Warwick schools Tuesday unless it was Sherman, Warwick Neck and one of the schools with HVAC systems.

“It’s very toasty,” said School Committee member …

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Hot, but smooth start to schools


It was a hot start for Warwick schools Tuesday unless it was Sherman, Warwick Neck and one of the schools with HVAC systems.

“It’s very toasty,” said School Committee member Leah Hazlewood as she stood in the Hoxsie School hallway with students streaming by after meeting in the all-purpose room. Outside the thermometer read a muggy 74 degrees. Inside where students, with the exception of kindergarteners, gathered by class it was a good 10 degrees warmer. The thermometer climbed to 88 degrees at Green Airport during the day.

Assistant Superintendent William McCaffrey said Wednesday that the department is keeping a close watch on the thermometer, but at this point has not made a decision about early dismissals or closing schools because of the heat and forecasts for Thursday or Friday. McCaffrey said water stations have been set up in the schools so kids can fill their bottles and stay hydrated. He said activities have been reduced so that students would not be over exerted. As of Wednesday morning he was not aware of any state heat directives relative to schools, but that Warwick is monitoring the situation and would comply with the commissioner’s guidance.

On Tuesday, Principal Gary McCoombs watched to make sure all the bused students had arrived before stepping up.

Chatter was at full volume, which didn’t surprise Fifth Grade Teacher Bill Potter. A 15-year Hoxsie veteran with 24 years of teaching, Potter said “this is a crazy day. It always works out like this.” He said by the second and third day, a routine falls into place and things calm down.

Ever since Warwick dropped junior high schools and adapted the middle school system, fifth graders have become the elementary school graduating class. “They’re the big dogs,” said Potter, “and next year they’re going to be the little dogs.”

Potter raised his voice and waved his arms. Suddenly the room was silent with scores of expectant faces focused on McCoombs. The school year was about to start. McCoombs directed everyone’s attention to the flag for the Pledge of Allegiance. That was followed by the reading of the “Hoxsie Pledge” that was printed on the wall behind him.

McCoombs told students to wave goodbye to the parents that had filtered in the room. The parents got the message and headed to the door where bussed students had arrived and classes departed in the opposite direction to find their rooms. On their way they were greeted by Mayor Frank Picozzi, Superintendent Lynn Dambruch, School Committee Chair David Testa and a lineup of school officials and Hoxsie staff.

McCaffrey and Testa reported Wednesday that overall, “everything went well” on opening day.  Testa said he concentrated on schools where renovations were completed during the summer. He said there were several minor issues such as a window that couldn’t be closed at Sherman. Testa monitored social media and with the exception of a student who ended up on the wrong bus (an issue that was corrected) he said the opening went smoothly…”except for the heat.”

1st day, school, education


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