UTAH (ABC4) – As Utah continues to see excessive heat, several schools in the state are doing what they can to help keep students and staff cool.
“Here we are the first week of September and we are dealing with some really, really hot temperatures,” said Davis School District spokesperson Hailey Higgins.
Davis School District has 92 schools and out of those, authorities say most have air conditioning units installed. However, some common areas don’t have air conditioning. One school forced to go without A/C, Sunset Junior High, has been relying on other methods to keep cool.
“We have brought in really large swamp coolers , we’re talking like five feet by six feet,” Higgins said.
She went on to add that staff have been coming in early to open windows, and said that teachers are having their classes take more breaks throughout the days and have been encouraging students to bring personal water bottles.
Higgins explained that officials have created a system to track temperatures inside the building to help keep things chill. The school’s facilities team keeps a close eye on the readings, which they can even do remotely. If temperatures get too high, a team is dispatched to fix the air conditioning.
“Schools are usually not in session when it gets this hot. So, the heat and keeping our students cool and safe is our top priority,” Higgins said.
She noted that a proposed $475,000,000 bond on the ballot for November would go toward installing air conditioning and remodeling older schools.
To the north, Weber School District is also feeling the heat.
“We started seeing some concerns yesterday afternoon with some possible heat exhaustion with some staff and students, we had some staff that had to leave early,” Weber School District spokesperson Lane Findlay told ABC4.
Tuesday and Wednesday next week, Weber students will reportedly be dismissed early. Elementary schools will follow their regular early-out schedule, while authorities say secondary schools will be out at 12:15 p.m.
“We still have some schools that were built in the late 1950s. I would guess that probably a half-dozen or so don’t have air conditioning or brought in one swamp cooler for one area. We have other buildings where maybe there’s adequate air conditioning in parts of the building, but not in all areas. It’s a little bit hit-and-miss on those older facilities,” Findlay said.
He added that it’s not just schools, but also buses and portables the District is worried about.
“The thought was that it would be in our best interest to do an early release, get kids and staff out of the buildings a couple hours early. That we are avoiding the hottest part of the day,” Findlay explained.
Both school districts have said they plan to work with parents on any accommodations their children may need during the heat wave.