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Headteachers Given Decision To Close Schools In Extreme Heat

Headteachers are being asked to decide whether it's safe for their students to go to school during next week's extremely hot weather.

The government says each school will carry out a risk assessment on how best to manage the heat.

It could reach temperatures of up to 38°C on Monday - which would make it the hottest day ever recorded in Jersey.

Public Health is warning of the danger of heat exhaustion, heat stroke and dehydration - especially among children and older people.

They haven't recommended blanket school closures - but the Education Minister, Deputy Inna Gardiner, has asked headteachers to decide what is best for the wellbeing of their students and staff:

"I place my high trust in head teachers as leaders of their schools who are best placed to make decisions and have the ability to plan to minimise disruption for children and their families and also ensure the health, safety and well-being of students and staff in their school.

We recognise the impact of making these difficult decisions will have on both students, staff and families, especially at the end of term with celebrations, sports days, and leavers assemblies planned. However, we must ensure we take proactive health protection measures for the health and safety and well-being of students and staff. Officers at the department will continue to provide support and advice during this time including advice for schools and other education settings during a heatwave."

Les Quennevais School has been closing early this week because of long-running issues with the building's cooling systems

We're being encouraged to take some 'simple steps' to cope with the hot weather:

  • shut windows, shades, blinds, or curtains to keep your rooms as cool as possible
  • if possible, stay out of the sun for long periods and avoid the hottest part of the day, which could be later in the afternoon
  • wear sunscreen and hats when outside
  • have cool baths or showers
  • drink plenty of water - avoid tea, coffee, and alcohol
  • wear loose, cool clothing
  • help those who are likely to struggle in the heat
  • ensure that babies, young children, and pets aren't locked into vehicles

Professor Peter Bradley, Jersey's Director of Public Health, says we should keep an eye out for anyone suffering in the heat - including dizziness, exhaustion, disorientation and dry skin:

"It is vital that Islanders, especially those at risk, take these necessary precautions over the next week as we are expecting temperatures to reach into the mid-30s on Monday.

I encourage everyone to look out for those that are vulnerable to extreme heat and less able to look after themselves."

We're being asked to 'only call an ambulance in a real emergency' to avoid putting extra strain on the emergency services.

Ports of Jersey has also published advice for anyone travelling through the airport or harbour during the extremely warm weather:

  • arrive in plenty of time to check in and go through security before your flight or ferry crossing, to help you avoid waiting in long queues
  • bring along empty water bottles, which can be filled for free with cold water once you have gone through security.
  • keep your cool by wearing lightweight and loose clothing.
  • if you are taking your car on the ferry, please make sure you have plenty of fluids with you. This is particularly important if you are travelling with pets. We will do what we can to help while you're waiting, but we expect it will get very hot.

 

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