Parents in District 205 Prepare for Heat in Buildings

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Some parents in the Rockford School District are concerned about schools not having air conditioning and are taking steps to make sure their kids stay cool while in class this week.

Victoria Hart has all the school supplies a fourth grader could need for the first day of school. This year, the most important item in her backpack may be her purple water bottle. Hart goes to school at Washington Gifted Academy; the building has no air conditioning and her classes are on the third floor, so staying hydrated will be critical during the first week of school.

"At my school there's one classroom that has air conditioning. Sometimes on hot days in the summer they sell popsicles," says Victoria Hart.

Victoria’s dad Chris is sending several frozen bottles of water in Victoria’s backpack. He’s worried that she may not learn as much as she can in a hot classroom.

"They're at such an accelerated pace of learning, every day means something to the kids at Washington Gifted. As a parent, I get concerned about the load of homework she may come home with and how much she may have absorbed that day at school," says Chris Hart.

Jori Peterson is also concerned about how much learning her 7th grader will do during the first few days of school. Her daughter is enrolled at Flinn Middle School, another building in District 205 without air conditioning. Peterson has water and Gatorade ready to help keep her daughter cool.

"There are some classrooms that don’t have any windows. She says, ‘Mom what am I supposed to do here?’ I say you gotta do your best because school is so important. Ok, it’s gonna be hot, we all know that but if everyone is prepared, then we've got a good shot at making it a very productive day,” says Jori Peterson.

Both Hart and Peterson say they want to send their daughters to class because the girls are so excited to go back to school, but if it gets too hot to handle, they may keep them home.

A representative from the Rockford School District says the plan is to monitor the heat in the schools on a case by case basis and early dismissals are a possibility. Water will be available to any student who needs it.

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