MENTOR, Ohio — Editor's note: The video in the player above is from a story published on March 1, 2021.
Parents of students in the Mentor Public School district are voicing concern and outrage over classroom conditions during the current heatwave across Northeast Ohio.
Due to current health orders, children are still required to wear masks and or face coverings inside of schools, however, because of possible COVID-19 spread, schools in Ohio are not recommended to allow oscillating fans in classrooms. The situation is causing many mothers and fathers to worry about their children's health.
"Parents of Mentor schools: the board of education is still not allowing fans in the classroom. It is 90° today and there is no air movement or air conditioning in their classrooms," said Val Harper-Vargo, a Mentor resident, in a Facebook post. "It is a small change that should be made for the remainder of the school year. Please call the board of education and request that fans be permitted again."
The plea was immediately echoed by other parents and family members in the comments.
One woman responded to the original post, claiming that her daughter "comes home with a sopping wet mask every day," due to the heat in the classrooms. Another Mentor resident responded to the post stating that she decided to keep her daughter home today for this exact reason.
In a letter obtained by 3News, Mentor Public School's Superintendent Bill Porter released the following words to parents and families following the calls for fans to be allowed:
"Hello, Mentor Schools families and staff. We have received some questions this morning regarding fans in classrooms because of today’s warm weather. As you know the safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. We’ve worked hand-in-hand with the Lake County General Health District to develop strong COVID-19 mitigation strategies to try to keep everyone healthy in our schools, which includes not using some fans. The same as in the beginning of the school year, we are not able to use oscillating or still fans on the ground due to the risk of spreading COVID-19 through the air. We are able to use ceiling fans. Today, we are encouraging extra mask-breaks, using outdoor learning spaces if possible, and more water consumption to help with the heat.
"Thank you for your continued support."
The temperature on Tuesday is expected to climb to an estimated 90 degrees.