Teachers say local classrooms are dangerously hot - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Teachers say local classrooms are dangerously hot

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The ongoing heat wave couldn't have come at a worse time for students and teachers who are back in school.

In the South Bay, National City teachers distributed leaflets Friday about dangerously unsafe heat conditions inside some elementary schools. The heat is causing similar issues in schools across the county.

Like the majority of older schools in the county, Lewis Middle School doesn't have air conditioning.

And that's causing concern for not only parents, but teachers as well.

"It has been hot. And, it has been difficult," said Miramar Ranch Teacher Mary Ann Francis.

That's how Francis described what the last few days inside her fourth grade classroom have been like.

"I have kids with headaches, and kids who have to vomit, so they're heading out to the bathrooms," continued Francis.

Francis works in Scripps Ranch, where temperatures have hovered around 100 degrees.

While her campus has air conditioning inside the main building, the bungalows, where about half of the classrooms are, don't and that forces the staff to get creative.

"We're in hallways, which I think is a fire issue. We're sharing a classroom with another class, which means we can't do our lessons," Francis said.

Teachers in National City can relate.

"Since last week, the classrooms have been in the mid-90's," said IRA Harbison Teacher Linda Cartwright.

Cartwright, a second grade teacher at IRA Harbison and the president on the city's Elementary School Associatio, passed out flyers alerting parents Friday morning.

"I think it will really help our students out," said Cartwright. "We've contacted the superintendent on numerous occasions and it's fallen on death ears."

National City's Superintendent did release a statement, saying they are moving forward with plans to install air conditioning to all schools and in the meantime have been following a heat safety plan.

San Diego Unified's Director of Facilities also responded when asked what's being done to make sure students and staff are safe:

"We have a plan that we've been working on all summer long."

That plan includes installing air conditioning to 2000 classrooms at 60 schools this year. The cost is $93 million paid for by voter approved Propositions S and Z.

"It does take time," Lee Dulgeroff with San Diego Unified. "It's not just air conditioners. We have to do major electrical upgrades to support the air conditioning."

Bids have gone out and as soon as they're approved by the board, construction will begin. But this is just the first phase. There are still more than 2,000 classrooms that need air conditioning, which they will get in the future.

In the meantime, there are hot weather plans in place.

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