School districts use different methods to beat the heat

NOW: Early release day in Augusta

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- School districts across Maine used different techniques to alleviate the heat for students as temperatures in the state reached the mid 90s in many places Monday.

Augusta school districts released elementary school students at 11:30 a.m. due to the heat. One teacher said the schools have ceiling fans and box fans, but no air conditioning. Monday, June 12 would have been those students last day of school, but snow days forced the district to push that back to Friday, June 16.

Some parents agreed with the district's decision to release early.

"If you're at school, you're there to learn. It's hot. You're not all there. I don't think any of us are all there," said Israel Gagne, a parent of a first grader at Lincoln Elementary.

"IF they have such a concern for it, I'm glad they release them early. Instead of sweating our buns off, we're taking a trip to the waterfall," said Star Cunningham, a mother of a fifth grader at Lincoln Elementary.

Public pools in Augusta were not open Monday. They will open Tuesday.

In South Portland, district staff opened the windows of the schools on Sunday to air the building out and create a cross-breeze. They put electric fans in classrooms, kept the lights off, and gave students hand fans to use on Monday.

"When we need to we'll just keep the lights out and keep things moving along. It's really okay. If we had five or six days in a row of this, that would be unfortunate," said South Portland superintendent Ken Kunin. "Our foremen know our buildings and know what they need to do to make them as habitable as possible."

Kunin said they also installed window air conditioners early Monday morning. He said in his 30 years in education as a principal and superintendent, he has never experienced a situation where he has needed to let school out early due to heat. 

NEWS CENTER reached out to the Augusta schools superintendent to try to learn more about the decisions, but did not receive a response.

A teacher at Lincoln Elementary said Cony High School does have air conditioning.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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