In just the second week of the school year, many Inglewood Unified School District teachers and students are facing a major issue: excessively hot classrooms with little or no airflow.
As temperatures soared into triple digits last week during Southern California’s first major heat wave of the year, the district’s older schools didn’t have the resources to combat the weather, as only IUSD’s newer or remodeled schools have air conditioning and acceptable ventilation.
The circumstances left district and school officials scrambling, and made for a rough start to a year in which the district, like others around the country, need to hone in to catch students up from lost learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic school shutdown.
The district’s maintenance department, which is typically months behind in responding to work orders and service requests, could have fixed broken AC units at many of their 17 schools over the summer, when classes weren’t in session. They arrived late last week to several schools and began to get the units working in classrooms, one by one. With the heat wave expected to continue this week, there are still numerous classrooms that have not been serviced.
To compound the problem, the district was slow to get fans to classrooms, and the fans that did finally arrive are too small for rooms to make as much of a difference as is necessary. Staff and students are trying to do their best to stay cool in the sweltering conditions.
“We don’t understand why the district didn’t get a jump on this problem after school was out in June,” one teacher said. “We have had heat waves like this every September for at least the last seven years – this is nothing new.”
“We really need to get this school year off to a strong start, and set the tone for the work we have to do. Temperature regulation in classrooms should be the last thing facing us as a road block right now.”
Temperatures in the region are expected to remain in the upper-90’s through this Friday.