Monday, March 4, 2024

ARGENTINA | 14-03-2023 14:08

Students in Santa Fe bring swimsuits to school as heatwave continues

A primary school in Santa Fe Province has adopted an unusual approach to tackling the sweltering summer temperatures – it told students to come to school with their swimming gear.

A primary school in Santa Fe Province this week called on its pupils to come to class with their swimsuits, in order to tackle the sweltering summer temperatures that have gripped the country.

Argentina is experiencing an unprecedented wave of record-breaking temperatures and a punishing drought that has destroyed crops worth tens of millions of dollars. Regions across the country are affected with the heat, with electricity demand running very high and the power grid struggling to cope with demand.

Responding the challenging conditions, students at the Francisco Gurruchaga primary school in Rosario are being told to swap their school gear for swim gear.

"We have never experienced anything like this and the school has to respond, it is our obligation to interpret what is happening," said Mariana Sanchez, headteacher at the school in Rosario, some 300 kilometres north of Buenos Aires.

The initiative is part of an attempt to get children to cool off with water at recess to cope with temperatures that reached 38 degrees Celsius on Monday, when an alert remains in effect after nine consecutive heat waves.

Although the school has air-conditioning, power cuts make it impossible to use it, the school board explained.

"Students from first to seventh grade who wish to do so may attend classes with a swim suit, flip-flops, a towel and an extra change of clothes, as breaks will be held in the square, in the shade and with a hose," the school said, according to Rosario's La Capital newspaper.

According to the National Meteorological Service (SMN), which has been collecting data since 1961, this is Argentina's hottest summer since then. Last month was also the second driest February, with 41.9 percent less rain than average due to the effects of the La Niña phenomenon.

According to the NMS, the first 10 days of March saw extremely high temperatures in the central-eastern part of the country with average highs of up to 8 and 10°C above normal for the season.



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