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Parents disappointed school district has not fixed AC issues in classrooms

<i>WNEM</i><br/>A sweltering forecast shut down schools in Flint
A sweltering forecast shut down schools in Flint

By Rachel McCrary, James Paxson

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    FLINT, Michigan (WNEM) — A hot and humid week, plus a lack of air conditioning prompting Flint Community Schools to cancel classes for the rest of the week.

A sweltering forecast shut down schools because it was too hot for staff or students to be inside the building.

Temperatures climbed into the high 80s and even broke into the 90s.

Richard Jones is a sports coach at Flint schools and is disappointed they are closed once again.

“The air conditioner issue should have been fixed before COVID-19,” Jones said.

Lashaya Darisaw has a stepdaughter that attends Flint schools and doesn’t like that this keeps happening.

“I think it’s frankly telling about how we run our schools,” Darishaw said.

Another person disappointed in the process is Karen Christian. Christian is the President of the United Teachers of Flint. She said it’s bad timing to have days off after the district transitioned to a balanced school year.

“The original agreement when he went to balanced calendar is that air-conditioning would be coming. We were expecting it to already be put in,” Christian said.

The delay is due to the pandemic. The district only has two school buildings with working AC, all the others are waiting for installation.

“They ordered all the stuff on time. It’s not a money issue. It’s not an on-time issue. It’s a supply demand issue. Because of the pandemic there are many things needed to make sure that all the new ACs that are going in our functional,” Christian said.

With summer learning loss and pandemic-induced virtual learning, Christian has concerns. She said the teachers are going to bring the students up to speed when they can finally get back in the classroom.

“It is difficult. We’re just now trying to do our beginning of the year testing so we can figure out exactly where everybody is academically. So, it puts us off a little bit more to figure out where they are. And have our plans in place,” Christian said.

In heat like this week, the temperatures can be close to 100 degrees inside the classroom. Jones thinks the issue should have been addressed earlier.

“Ridiculous so much going on so many schools are closed,” Jones said.

This time off could impact the amount of snow days students get or have left. Christian said there are talks about having virtual days to combat that problem.

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