Fall Heat Wave Forces Shorter School Days in Long Beach | NBC Southern California

Fall Heat Wave Forces Shorter School Days in Long Beach

About 70 percent of the schools in the Long Beach Unified School district are not equipped with air conditioning, according to a district spokesman

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    A lack of air conditioning at 70 percent of Long Beach public schools led officials to shorten the school day. The move has parents questioning why money has been spent on technology upgrades rather than AC units for classrooms. Hetty Chang reports from Long Beach for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. (Published Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014)

    Temperatures reaching near triple-digits Thursday were expected to keep climbing Friday in Long Beach where most of the schools in the district do not have air conditioning.

    About 70 percent of the schools in the Long Beach Unified School district are not equipped with air conditioning, according to a district spokesman.

    The district designated shorter days for all 84 schools Thursday and Friday due the heat after dozens of parents complained after the last heat wave a few weeks ago.

    Students said temperatures reached nearly 100 degrees.

    "It was really hot!" said Aidan Nunez, a student at Herbert Hoover middle school in Lakewood, which is part of the Long Beach School District.

    "It was just miserable," student Kaleb Jensen said. "It was hard to work. It's exhausting and it's to the point that you just don't want to be at school."

    Parents, including Erin Nunez who expressed concerns to school board members at the last school board meeting, believe the shorter days are only a temporary solution.

    "My children are coming home sick, I've had a child that's been at urgent care, bloody nose, headache, nausea, muscle cramps and fatigue," said Nunez, who has three children in the district. "We've been told not to send our son to school on hot days."

    Parents want to see school bond money invested into the older schools that don't have air conditioning.

    Installing air conditioning district-wide would cost about $200 million dollars and could require a new ballot measure, according to a district spokesman who pointed out that current bond measure money is earmarked for other priorities, like seismic improvements and new school construction.

    "We are also piloting some programs in 12 schools where we are looking at pedestal-mounted fans, ceiling fans and window film on the windows," said Chris Eftychiou, spokesman for the Long Beach Unified School District.

    Parents do not believe that will be enough.

    "A child that was left in a 102 degree car, the parents would be indicted for that act," Nunez said. "Yet these children are being allowed to sit in these 102 to 104 (degree) classrooms!"

    Several parents were expected to attend the school board meeting Oct. 6.
     

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