- Associated Press - Friday, September 11, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - As complaints from students, teachers and parents about sweltering classrooms grow louder, the Hawaii Department of Education has made an emergency request to expedite the purchase of 1,000 portable air conditioning units for classrooms.

The units will be temporarily installed in the hottest classrooms, Hawaii News Now reported (https://bit.ly/1UKUrit).

“We realized we really need to do something above and beyond. We had already started ordering some of these, but last Friday that we actually went to the extreme of asking for the emergency procurement because we had exhausted the list of available units on island,” said Dann Carlson, the Assistant Superintendent of the Office of School Facilities and Support Services.

Carlson said this is a short-term solution as they have already exhausted their current supply of air conditioners, and that some of the schools will need major electrical upgrades to sustain the use of portable air conditioners.

“We’ve learned a lot in just the last week with this portable A/C units and the fact that plugging them unbeknownst and didn’t expect the circuit to be overloaded but we were popping circuit breakers,” said Carlson.

In the hottest classrooms across the state, 57 A/Cs have already been installed, but 10 of those aren’t working. Officials say they received 36 more units Thursday and they will be distributing them immediately.

The announcement comes after two rallies were held Thursday outside the department’s headquarters. First, during the morning commute and again after school so students and teachers could attend.

“They can’t concentrate. They’re getting heat exhaustion, nose bleeds, kids are passing out. They’re going to the emergency room.” said Cool Our Keiki founder Gigi Jones told Hawaii News Now (https://bit.ly/1VRicI8).

Carlson said the department speaks to principals and asks where the top ten hottest classrooms are. Then electricians test the circuits to make sure they can run the units.

“Scientifically it is hotter this year than it has ever been and I think that rose the concern,” he said. “We are listening to our principals, we are listening to our complex area superintendents, to our students, to our parents — and we’re trying to be reactive. We’re trying to do the right thing.”


Information from: KGMB-TV, https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/

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