The following message is from Oak Park Elementary School District 97:
Members of our community have recently shared their comments and concerns about the temperature issues in our elementary schools, the possibility of installing air conditioning in our classrooms, the proposed construction of a new administrative facility, the investment of referendum dollars, the need to address accessibility and student capacity, and continued payments of past financial obligations.
These comments and concerns are addressed below. We thank everyone who shared their feedback and insight on these important topics, and appreciate their continued support of our schools and the children we serve. Additional comments, questions and concerns about these or any other school or district-related issues can be e-mailed to email@example.com.
Decision to Hold Class
During first few weeks of school, there were several days when unseasonably hot weather descended upon the area. The district took a variety of precautions to mitigate the impact of the heat on our elementary schools, which are partially air conditioned (middle schools are fully air conditioned), and preserve and protect the health and safety of our students and staff. These precautions included, but were not limited to:
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Opening the windows on the upper floors overnight to help cool the classrooms; Delivering cases of water and fans to every building; Taking frequent water breaks; and Maximizing the use of the air conditioned portions of our facilities.
While cancelling classes or dismissing early were options we considered, we believed we had the protocols, procedures, personnel and resources in place to serve the needs of our students under the adverse conditions.
We also believe it is important to note a couple of things about this decision. First, most if not all of the districts that cancelled classes or dismissed early during these days had no areas in their buildings where people could find relief from the heat. Second, for every parent/guardian who believed it was too hot to have students in our buildings, there were just as many who needed us to be open because their homes are not air conditioned or their children depend on us for meals and a place to go while they are at work.
Although the situation was far from ideal, we made the choice we believed best served the interests of the more than 5900 students who attend our schools.
Patch will post the rest of the district's message regarding air conditioning in its schools later today.