CLEVELAND — The school year just began, but the Cleveland Metropolitan School District will have some empty classrooms today because of the heat.
With temperatures projected to be around 90 degrees, the following Cleveland schools have switched to remote learning due to excessive heat in their buildings (for Monday, Aug. 29, 2022):
- Bard High School Early College
- Benjamin Franklin
- Charles Mooney
- Facing History New Tech
- Glenville High School
- Mary Church Terrell / Louis Agassiz
- New Tech West
- Newton D. Baker
- School of One locations at Bard, Collinwood, and Glenville
- Stonebrook White Montessori
- Tremont Montessori
CMSD sent 3News the following information in a statement:
"Due to excessive heat in their buildings, we switched some schools to remote learning today. The move, which was made possible by our practice of providing a device to every student in the District, allowed those schools to remain in session and avoid taking a calamity day. CEO Eric Gordon has asked CMSD’s facilities team to explore using some of the air-quality funds we have available under the American Rescue Plan to purchase portable air-conditioning units for the schools that went remote today. A majority of our more than 90 schools have air conditioning."
Shari Obrenski, president of the Cleveland Teachers Union, told 3News that the buildings that went virtual Monday either did not have air conditioning or did not have functioning air conditioning.
"Whenever we don't have the conditions that we need for students to have an optimal learning environment, it makes it more difficult for the kids and for the teachers and other classroom personnel, so we definitely want our kids to have a comfortable learning environment," Obrenski said.
Obrenski said that for buildings that have non-functioning A/C, the plan is to make repairs. When it comes to buildings that do not have A/C, Obrenski said the union has discussed the topic, and the district is working to explore options.
CMSD is not the only district impacted by the heat. In Canton, Heritage Christian School canceled classes due to the heat. According to superintendent Sharla Elton, there is no air conditioning in general classroom areas.
"We definitely want to have a safe and good learning environment where children can focus, feel their best, and so sometimes unfortunately that means closing the school for a day, letting things cool off, and then getting back to school tomorrow," Elton said.
Elton said that the cancellation will not impact the schedule for the rest of the school year, and they will be looking into solutions for the future.
Heritage Christian School is a private school with about 300 students and about 60 staff members. Elton added that sometimes non-public schools are not eligible for some governmental funding to upgrade facilities.
Coventry Middle School, part of the Coventry Local School District, was also closed today. The district's superintendent, George Fisk, sent 3News the following information:
"Our closure today is due to mechanical issues with our air conditioning system. We have technicians working on it today. If the issues are resolved, Coventry Middle School will reopen tomorrow."
CMSD's Collinwood High School was also closed Monday due to staff absences, the release said. There will be no remote learning.
Obrenski said Collinwood High School is one of the few schools in the district that is short on staffing, and said it wouldn't take many staff absences to make it difficult to continue with the day.
"We will be doing the fall adjustments very quickly," Obrenski said. "By October 1, we will have staff moved around in the district into the places where students need them. We just needed the first couple of weeks of school to make sure we knew where the students were settling so we can move the staff efficiently."
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Editor's Note: The following video is from an unrelated story.