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Baby, it’s cold inside

Turns out classrooms are chilly for a reason
Wallis Rogin
Junior Abigail Fernandez wraps herself in her blanket to ward off the cold.

Winter is coming, temperatures are quickly dropping and the heat has kicked on. But not every room at St. Mary’s is toasty warm, and students have noticed. 

Senior Kat Rogers can be seen strutting the hallway with her signature plaid blanket.

“I’ll sit there [in class] and just shiver, like teeth chattering,” Rogers said. “I’m just focused on how cold I am and hence the blanket.”

She’s not the only one who said they felt they were being tested by the cold. 

“It’s overly cold,” sophomore Amirah Abdus-Salaam said. “[It’s] colder in the building than it is outside which makes no sense. It shouldn’t be freezing cold in the building.” 

The frequently circulated rumor that Ms. Cyndie Fogarty, Buckman assistant director and Gobble Gear Shop manager, keeps the temperature low to sell more St. Mary’s sweatshirts turns out to be unfounded.  

“Absolutely not! No, are you kidding me? I have no control over the air conditioning,” she said. “Tell them to turn the heat on because I am always cold.” 

But if Fogarty is not controlling the temperature, then why is it so cold?

The reason, according to Director of Operations Sarah Jenks, comes from an organization that students might not have ever heard of. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, ensures safe and healthy working conditions in schools, hospitals or any public workplace. 

On their website, OSHA recommends “temperature control in the range of 68-76 [degrees] F.”

Jenks says that St. Mary’s, generally, is kept at 68 degrees. And although OSHA’s guidelines are not mandatory, she believes that there is still good reason to follow them. 

“[OSHA is] going to know better that we are,” Jenks said. “Yes, OSHA is a recommendation, but it is a smart recommendation …  and St. Mary’s is always in the practice of doing [the] best practice.”

But OSHA guidelines are just the tip of the iceberg. 

“We have to treat our buildings just like living organisms,” Jenks said. “The floors of the gym, if it ever becomes too warm in there, those living organisms, the wood in the floors, will expand and buckle up… [In] the strength and conditioning center, if we don’t have it at 65 degrees or lower the building will actually sweat, and it will rain within that building… because that room is all glass.”

Stash all hopes of St. Mary’s having a warmer climate, she warned.

“If you gave me $12 million, it is not going to fix the AC,” Jenks said. “Just due to the health of the building I’m never going to let you have 74 degrees, because if I do that I’m going to destroy floors, and it’s out of OSHA compliance.” 

Some approaches to fighting the cold can actually make the problem worse.

Facilities coordinator Rachael Davis explained that the space heaters some teachers have used to combat their chilly rooms can actually make it colder for the school overall.

“The little boxes on the wall, those are sensors,” Davis said. “It will sense [the space heater] and raise the temperature in that room… which will push cold air into the other areas because it’s sensing that it needs to turn off the [heated] air and cool the area down.”

Despite complaints from students, Jenks insists that the system is functioning as designed.

“It’s actually working really well,” Jenks said. “This is how it’s supposed to work, and if you end up buying more Gobble Gear and end up having great St. Mary’s sweatshirts, all the better for everybody.”

But for sophomore Montana Pierce, another sweatshirt isn’t cutting it. “I bring a sweatshirt everyday,” Pierce said. “And like, oh my god, the school is so cold.”

For junior Abigail Fernandez, a blanket is the best solution. She has brought the same one to school everyday for the past two years, though it sometimes costs her.  

“I’ll take a dress code [violation] for my blanket every once in a while,” Fernandez said. “I’ve had detention twice for it.”

Other students report having received warnings and even detentions for wearing blankets. 

There is no direct mention of blankets in the student handbook, though it does state that “faculty and administration reserve the right to make the final decision regarding the appropriateness for school.”

This situation frustrates Pierce, as she feels there are not many options. 

“We get in trouble if we wear blankets,” she said. “We get in trouble if we wear sweatpants. We get in trouble if we wear flared leggings. So I feel like there’s not a lot of, for example, things you can wear to keep warm without getting in trouble.”

And some students feel that what they can wear within the dress code, like leggings that are tight at the ankle, just do not keep them warm. 

Freshman Cayden King said, “Leggings don’t do anything at all!”

Unfortunately for students, the cold does not exempt them from following the dress code.

“I think we are honor bound to abide by the rules of our community, and so if it is against dress code to carry a blanket around I would not encourage a student to break dress code,” Mrs. Rainey Segars, assistant chaplain and comparative religion teacher, said. “That being said, if I know it’s freezing in here [in my room] and if you know you have religion every day and it’s freezing, my counsel would be buy a blanket, leave it in here.”

Segars believes that there are many ways a student can stay warm within the dress code. 

“If it were my kid, I would tell them to wear what you can wear within the dress code,” she said. “Buy some leggings with fleece on the inside and wear it under your uniform. If you’re cold, put a long sleeve thermal underwear thing on under your sweater… We’re going to work within your dress code, you’re not just going to blow it off.”

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About the Contributors
MC Hitt
MC Hitt, Reporter
After spending her summer binging 13 seasons of “Doctor Who,” MC Hitt is pumped to start her first year on Tatler. Some people say MC can be described as daring since she would be willing to save humanity and fight in a zombie apocalypse, but when she is not saving the world, MC loves to climb on the St. Mary’s climbing team and listen to Olivia Rodrigo on repeat. Ironically, MC has two dogs, but is a cat person at heart and plans to adopt a cat as soon as she gets to college. Though she is just a sophomore, MC knows that she wants to pursue a career in writing and is super excited to get to develop her skills as a writer on Tatler this year. MC plans to express her passion for writing by reporting on local news stories and sharing her opinions on topics that she believes need attention. She couldn’t be more thrilled to do great work for Tatler this year! 
Mary Elizabeth Autry
Mary Elizabeth Autry, Photographer
Mary Elizabeth is a freshman starting her first year on Tatler as a photographer. She has always been interested in photography and is excited to share her photos with others through Tatler. Mary Elizabeth has been a ballet dancer for around five years. When she is not in the studio or taking photos you can find her playing with her two dogs, Jengo and Romy, baking, running, reading or watching her favorite TV shows. Right now, she is a big fan of “The Summer I Turned Pretty” (a big fan of the books too), but she cannot wait for the new season of “Stranger Things” to come out. Although it is not Mary Elizabeth’s first year at St. Mary’s, she is excited to experience all the traditions that high school has to offer. Specifically, she cannot wait for her first Derby Day. Mary Elizabeth cannot wait for her first year on Tatler and her first year as a high schooler!
Brennan Seltzer
Brennan Seltzer, Co Editor-in-Chief
Brennan Seltzer is a senior at St. Mary’s beginning her fourth and final year on the Tatler staff as Co-Editor-in-Chief. She enjoys listening to her favorite band Tennis and thrifting at her favorite spots, Blues City Thrift and City Thrift. Brennan also loves a good pour over from her favorite coffee shop, City and State. If she could have any animal in the world as a pet, she would choose a monkey because they are entertaining. If she’s not listening to music, drinking coffee or thrifting, you can find her watching her favorite show “Psych" or eating breakfast for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One thing about Brennan that not everybody knows is that she is left-handed! She is such a fun and interesting person to be around and she is very passionate about her work. Brennan is excited to see what cool stories everyone writes this year on Tatler!
Wallis Rogin
Wallis Rogin, Co Editor-in-Chief
Wallis Rogin is a junior who is excited to be spending her third year on Tatler as co Editor-in-chief. You may know Wallis as a quiet person, but once you get to know her you will find that she is a super fun person to be around. She’s always wanted a pet turtle, and once even had one for 12 hours before it disappeared. She is also a bold person and she shows her boldness by mixing her jewelry metals. She likes peanuts, but dislikes peanut butter and hates wooden utensils even more. She understands that wooden utensils are better for the environment, but just can't get behind them. Because of this, whenever she goes to Ben and Jerry’s, she always gets a cone instead of a cup because the Ben and Jerry’s spoons are wooden. She loves their Phish Food ice cream and would love it even more with a plastic spoon. One final fact about Wallis is that she loves New Girl and is still upset that it was taken off Netflix. 

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