As Chicagoans deal with extreme heat and humidity, many students attending summer school classes in preparation for the important ISAT tests are being forced to study in steamy classrooms without air conditioning.
While Chicago Public Schools, according to the Chicago Tribune, have made some 1,500 fans available to the 16 percent of the district's schools that are without air conditioning, the heat is still making a negative impact on many students, CBS 2 reported Thursday.
At William Penn Elementary School, one of the many schools without air conditioning, parents and community members protested what they called "unbearable conditions" for the 150 students attending summer classes there Thursday. Rev. Robin Hood told CBS 2 that the students he observed when he entered the school looked exhausted and very sweaty early in the day. He described seeing "a fan in the hallway that's blowing incredible heat."
(Scroll down to watch more of CBS 2's report on the heat at Penn Elementary.)
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that several Penn students were sent home this week due to their suffering physical symptoms of heat exhaustion.
The Chicago Teachers Union has also received many complaints from its members teaching summer courses across the city, according to the Sun-Times. With a longer school year being pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, it's an issue CTU contends that Chicago Public Schools will need to face soon.
"It’s stifling, as you can imagine," CTU spokeswoman Liz Brown told the Sun-Times. "It would seem to me that with half of the schools having at least partial air conditioning, those would be the only schools CPS would hold summer school in."
A CPS spokesperson told CBS 2 that they had received "very few complaints" from schools or parents related to the heat. They have advised schools to draw window shades, turn off lights, keep children hydrated and consider moving their instruction to better ventilated parts of the building in order to beat the heat.