Swelter in Place

AC in new science and math classes have been down with no immediate fix

Reese Gardner, Student Life Editor

With nearly 100-degree weather this week, teachers in rooms with broken air conditioning systems, especially in the new science and math buildings, say they have struggled to keep their students comfortable in the heat.

Some, such as chemistry and AP Biology teacher Kevin Kalman, in the S Building have had problems with their AC system going as far back as April, and their work orders to get them fixed have been unfulfilled.

The lack of ventilation has even led to small outbreaks of COVID-19 in the past two weeks. Physics teacher Chris Chidester said that five students in one class have been out sick with COVID.

Physics teacher Chris Chidester places a fan in the doorway to cool his J building room down. (Angela Choi)

“Not only is it extremely hot but it’s unsanitary,” Chidester said.

Custodial supervisor Vinnie Ramos shared with the Bear Witness a running list of at least 10 ongoing HVAC issues in the four-year-old J, C, and S buildings, including broken thermostats, leaky ceilings, and malfunctioning communication systems.

“It’s hot and I’ve taken the temperature a couple of times and it has been 80 degrees or more,” Kalman said, “I have put multiple work orders in, and they have continually never got it done.”

Kalman, along with other teachers like chemistry and journalism teacher Fitzgerald Vo, has had to move their classrooms to those with AC. Chidester said he has been unable to find any free rooms

“I have yet to hear anything back, so I’m still waiting to see if they can find me a room, primarily for after lunch.”

Principal Lindsay Schubert said she has been in contact with the district. Earlier this week she brought Superintendent Dr. Robert Bravo into the rooms with no AC, which she hopes will speed the process of getting the AC back for students and teachers.

The problem, she said, is that some parts to fix the units are back-ordered.

“We also don’t know how many of the units we can fix, and how many we might need to replace,” she said.

Schubert said she is also trying to get the district to bring in portable AC units and large fans mainly for rooms that have no air circulation.

The Bear Witness reached out to Erik Wasinger, who is in charge of the district’s facilities, but has not received a response.