Portland classrooms swelter in heat wave

Students in class at Faubion Elementary School in Portland, Sept. 10, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
Students in class at Faubion Elementary School in Portland, Sept. 10, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Despite potentially record-setting temperatures in the region, Portland public schools and students continued their lesson plans even though most buildings don’t have air conditioning.

At Faubion Elementary School, teachers opened windows and turned on fans to help keep everyone a little cooler. Principal Lashawn Lee said it’s better for learning if the kids are cooler.

“They’re hot, and there’s a lot of movement in the classrooms. Kids are talking to each other. But they’re very unproductive if they’re worried about staying cool,” she told KOIN 6 News.

There aren’t any exact figures, but most of the 85 buildings in the Portland Public School system do not have air conditioning. School administrators are providing bottled water to everyone and dimmed the lights to keep the temperature down.

Gym class has its own issues, said director Mitch Whitehurst. Water and shade are the top priorities.

“When students get to looking like they’re fatigued or they’re sweating a lot or they stop moving, we have an eye out for that,” he said. “So we give them more water and we stop. We don’t keep going for a long period of time.”

They also want the students to let them know when they begin to feel too hot or when they see one of their friends get overheated.

Hydration is the key on a hot day like this.

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