Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer Sizzle

It's August, we're the middle of the country on the Kansas plains, and it's supposed to be hot. If you decide to open schools during August, wouldn't it make sense to plan for this heat? And if it gets very, very hot -- shouldn't you have contingency plans for high heat and humidity days?

I love my school district. I think they usually plan well and they care about their charges AND employees. But where heat is concerned, this year they have made stupid decisions based on cost cutting.

At 3 p.m. each Friday they have decided to turn off all the air-conditioners in the schools. My building, built in 1935 in the old classical school model, was retrofitted with air, but it's not really an operational unit. Especially on the far end of the third floor where my room is situated. The rule is that our huge, high old-fashioned windows are NOT to be opened, except in emergencies. We have no room fans. We DO get hot, but in past years this has been acceptable heat. The air circulates and when we complained, a little more air would be filtered our way.

But this year when the cooling goes off on Friday, it stays off until 6 a.m. on Monday, so the heat and humidity build. And build. And build.

This Monday morning the AC in our building did not come on. They jimmied with it all day yesterday. The admin gave in and allowed windows to be opened and we tried to get what cool breezes we could. The temps outside rose to 95 and inside it was 93. We sweated. A lot. Finally around 1 p.m. the air came on and stayed on -- but at 3 p.m. the district shut it back off -- to meet their cost saving goals.

Of course, again, this morning the air would not come back on. The heat continued to build. Outside, by 1 p.m. it was 97 degrees -- and the heat index was 107. ONE HUNDRED AND SEVEN DEGREES. The humidity -- because a huge storm is headed our way -- must have been at 130%. The air dripped with moisture.

Inside, we baked. It was so hot we could barely breathe. We opened up windows -- but then would be required to put them back down every time they thought the air was working -- but then the air wouldn't work.

If the air comes on tomorrow we might get our huge historic high school just cool enough to walk around in without sweat dripping into our clothes and turning us sopping wet. But every night that air will go off, negating what little cooling has been done during the day.

And to make matters worse, the district, to save a penny, will turn the air back off for the weekend, so for three days (Labor Day weekend) the heat will continue to build and on Tuesday we will be broiling all over again.

Last week I got sick on Thursday night -- woke up at 3 p.m vomiting. Initially, I thought stomach flu -- but it wasn't. I was simply over tired from all the rigor of starting school -- and from the heat we had been fighting all last week. This week the heat is exponentially worse.

The district, however, is adamant about turning off the air conditioning every afternoon. God only knows what will happen if we also have a very frigid winter -- and they insist on turning the heat off.


Donna said...

Oh my, this is terrible. And you can't even have fans? Wow.

Margaret said...

That sounds utterly miserable and no kind of learning environment. Not very healthy either!! You probably don't want to know that it's a very pleasant 70 here. :( Sorry!!

(M)ary said...

Omg. That is dangerous!
Plus, it defeats the purpose of being in school. How can anyone learn or teach in that sort of atmosphere?
You haven't posted for a couple weeks. I hope you survived the heat wave.