LAUSD fights to keep schools cool during the heat wave

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On sweltering days, The LA Unified School District is often bombarded with calls from schools that the air conditioning system is broken.They received more than 350 calls on Monday.

When that happens the district dispatches one of more than 160 HVAC technicians and independent contractors to keep the students and staff cool.

The LA Unified School District has 30,000 classrooms on 900 campuses. All the classrooms have air conditioning but many of the systems are more than 20-years old, so the district is undertaking a roughly $350 million HVAC upgrade initiative.

Steven Johnson, an LA Unified School District facility director says “we have a critical repair project and we have several that are going to be started in the valley. This is the key focus because this is the hottest and the coldest area in the district."

In the meantime, Principals have the discretion to take other measures to keep kids cool, such as moving them to cooler areas of the school, using portable air conditioning units and fans, and propping open doors for cross ventilation.

The Principal of Knollwood Predatory Academy in Granada Hills, Cecilia Salazar says “The safety and welfare of your students is our number one priority, we need to make sure that they stay hydrated and they stay in cool areas at all times, so we have been modifying our recess and lunch schedules, so all recreational activities are happening indoors."

A majority of that $350 million dollars for HVAC repairs and upgrades, will be used for schools in the Valley and Van Nuys.

The project is slated to be completed in 2021.

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