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Summer Heat Prompting Some Schools To Close Early

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Updated 08/27/13 – 11:39 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – The brutal heat has prompted some schools to end classes early on Tuesday, or cancel classes altogether.

Meadowview School and Woodview School in Grayslake cancelled all classes on Tuesday, though employees were told to report to work.

Several suburban schools, including Taft School District 90 in Lockport, Laraway School and Oak Velley School in Joliet, West Aurora School District 129, and Waukegan Public School District 60 were ending classes early on Tuesday.

Temperatures could reach about 95 degrees on Tuesday, and when combined with the humidity, it could feel as hot as 103 degrees.

CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, while Chicago Public Schools were not altering their schedules, teachers and staff were taking precautions to keep kids cool on the second day of classes.

At Mollison Elementary School in Bronzeville, an electrical transformer failed late Tuesday morning, leaving the building without power.

The school was evacuated while firefighters checked for a possible fire, because the transformer failure set off fire alarms, but no fire was found. Students were taken back into the school and given water to keep cool, but officials were considering busing the kids to another location.

At Armour Elementary School in Bridgeport, the classrooms don’t have air conditioning, but the main office, library, and computer rooms do; so kids can take a break in those rooms if they feel overheated.

For the most part, teachers were keeping their windows open Tuesday morning to keep the air moving.

Some classrooms got a special delivery, as CPS officials delivered four fans.

It’s the second day of school at Armour Elementary and other Chicago Public Schools. The kids are off to a good start, but the heat hasn’t been making it easy the past two days.

“It was really hot, because on the 2nd floor there’s barely any air conditioning,” Victoria Salazer said of the first day of class on Monday

So today, kids made sure to come prepared with plenty of water.

Third grader Max Cruz said, “It gets hot, you need to hydrate, and you get so hot that you want to drink water.”

The fans the district delivered were a welcome gift for students and parents alike.

“She said that’s good because her daughter is burning up in the classroom,” Renya Pacho said through a translator. “She said today she didn’t want to come to school, because yesterday was way too hot.”

Max said he’ll try to get right in front of one of the fans.

“I did that once. I’m like, ‘Ahhh.’ I was relaxed,” he said. “It gave me so much energy.”

Victoria said, when it’s this hot, and students are trying to learn, “it’s really hard, because then you’ve got to try to keep cool, and it’s really hot outside. … And then, when you’re writing, your hand might be sweaty, and you have to wipe it off.”

One mom said if she survived school without air conditioning, so can her kids.

“If I went here to Armour for 10 years, and I’ve gone without a/c for the whole 10 years that I’ve been here, it’s not as bad as others are making it out to be,” Krissy Guzman said.

She said her daughter hasn’t complained once about the heat.

The principal at Armour said gym and recess will be kept indoors on Tuesday.

At least one private school in Chicago, Josephinum Academy, planned to close at noon.

Principal Lourdes Weber said the school gets too hot in the afternoon on days like this, so kids were being sent home early.

“Yesterday was a hot day, and we made it, and around 2 o’clock, the dean of students and I went upstairs to see how everybody was doing, and we realized we could not even be upstairs. It was just impossible,” she said.

The building has no air conditioning, except a couple window units; not enough for the 205 high school girls and their teachers.

Weber’s office is one of the rooms with a/c, but “I personally feel guilty, so I am all day all the time upstairs, because I just don’t want to be in my air-conditioned office when all the teachers and the students are upstairs.”

She said the heat makes it too exhausting for students to concentrate in the afternoon.

Get the latest on school closings or early dismissals here.

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