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Heat Causes Local Schools to Dismiss Early

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--It's a sound heard in many classrooms at west high.

"We're just trying to ensure that everybody uses some good judgment and in those very hot rooms we're trying to make some accommodations as much as possible," said West High Principal, Jerry Arganbright.

All because of the heat. According to the Iowa Education Department, about 15 percent of the state's schools don't have air conditioning

 At west high 60 percent of school doesn't have air conditioning so on hot days like this classes end early.

"We really look at the national weather service, the forecast and the temperatures within our buildings," said director of health and student services, Susie Poulton.

When the district lets students leave two hours early, that means each class period is cut to just 25 minutes, most of the windows are opened up.

Every spare fan that can be found is in use and teachers are watching for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

"We're keeping a close eye on them. We're asking them to send kids to the office who aren't feeling well and our school nurses are checking on them," said Poulton.

Newer buildings do have air conditioning but the district has yet to develop a plan to retrofit its older buildings or how to pay for it.

For now, "we have to deal with this. It happens," said Arganbright.

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