Think About It: Hot Air on Hot Classrooms - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

August 17, 2015

Think About It: Hot Air on Hot Classrooms

Man it's hot. And it's not even September yet! But if you think you've got it bad, imagine what it's like for the students in our schools without much daily relief from heat and sun. We know it's horrible on the leeward side; we've heard that for years. There is a priority list of schools identified for reparations, but the wheels move awfully slowly, just like the hot air on still days. Now there's talk of having "heat days", like snow days on the mainland. But heat days would happen far too often in August, September, and October in some schools. 

I recently talked to a Honolulu high school teacher who says it's so bad that kids scramble each day upon arrival to gain a seat up by the sole fan her classroom provides. It's so awful that she now provides paper towels so kids can wipe their brow and fan themselves. Students take turns putting dark paper up on the windows to block the sunlight and heat- yes, they have no curtains. We hear of teachers spritzing kids with water. This is school, not halftime of an AYSO soccer match! So while we hear that that photovoltaic AC is a DOE project, and things are slowly moving along, the expectations is that our kids' test scores and attention spans will somehow go up while they experience sweltering, inhuman conditions in which they are asked to breathe, let alone learn.

If we had dogs confined in a room and didn't provide sufficient water, it would be considered inhumane and criminal. I guess 100-degree classrooms pass the tolerable test for humans. Corey Rosenlee, a former leeward side teacher and now the head of the HSTA, has been a big proponent of cooling down our classrooms, so maybe a stronger push can help get some needed oomph through his suggested off-the-grid PV solar idea. In the meantime, it would be great to hear of a sizable donation of fans from some akamai or philanthropic company. It would be great to see a sense of urgency in getting more photovoltaic or portable, secured AC units or fans installed. It's only August in Hawaii's schools, and as Nelly would sing, it's gettin' hot in herre. Or, as Kool & The Gang once sang… Too Hot. So let's cool it. Think about it…

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