Classes canceled because of heat

Published 08/26 2013 08:15PM

Updated 08/27 2013 10:07AM

 CHAMPAIGN -- Central High School students are getting out early Tuesday because of the heat. It's the only Unit 4 school without air conditioning in its classrooms. Temperatures reached about 96 degrees inside.

"Five minutes in class, you're sweating. T-shirt sticking to the back of the seat. It's very hot," said Jabari Freeman.

He's a junior at Central and just one of the students who has to sit in class throughout the day, without AC.

"I try to keep cool by stepping in and out of the classroom, making a paper fan but other than that, I just have to deal with it," said Freeman.

"If you went into all the classrooms, you'd see a lot of fans," said principal Joe Williams.

His administration, along with the district, are aware of the problem.

"We've been paying attention all day. The teachers, the students and the classrooms. We walk through, walk through all of them," said Williams.

He keeps track of the heat index throughout the day with hygrometers. When it gets too hot...

"When all you can think about, you're sticking to all the paper that the teacher's handing you, just everything is wet, only so much learning can happen," said Williams.

That's when school hours may get cut. School leaders and the district thought about putting in air conditioning, but it's a bigger project than one might think, and very expensive.

"It's not as simple as us going to Sears, purchasing the window unit and plopping it in and plugging it into the wall. Our electrical wouldn't be able to handle it," said Williams.

The district hopes to fix the AC problem all together by moving Central High School to a new building. It hopes to buy land for it by the end of the year.

Even though school is getting out early, athletic activities are still a go. Athletes will have to return to Central Tuesday afternoon for things like cross country and football practice.

Coaches say they know it's hot, but it's a good way to condition the students. They're also taking extra precautions to make sure kids stay safe.

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