Lake Zurich Unit District 95 now has a plan on what to do at schools without central air conditioning when it's considered too hot in classrooms.
Superintendent Michael Egan said the excessive heat procedures were formed in response to concerns from parents and school board members that arose early in the 2013-14 academic season. The school year ends June 12.
"This is a great first start," board member Doug Goldberg said.
Five of eight District 95 schools are not centrally air-conditioned. Unlike some school systems, District 95 didn't send students home early or cancel classes when a heat wave hit soon after the school year started, but it tried to provide comfort with large fans, ice pops and other measures.
Under the new plan, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's heat index will dictate procedures for students and teachers at the five buildings.
If the combination of heat and humidity is 97 degrees or greater, measures to be taken include keeping overhead lighting to a minimum, sending all available fans to classrooms, frequent water breaks and limited physical activity for students. Classrooms will be rotated so students may cool off in areas with limited air conditioning.
An early dismissal schedule will become part of the plan if the heat index persists at 97 degrees for a second consecutive day and those that follow. Parents, students and school employees will be notified about the early dismissal by 9 p.m. the preceding day.
Some board members voiced concern about the temperature readings. Goldberg floated the idea of creating an official reading station at District 95.
"I think the vital data point we need to know is the temperature in the classroom," board member Eileen Mahoney said.
District 95's buildings without central air conditioning are Seth Paine, Isaac Fox, May Whitney, and Sarah Adams elementary schools and Middle School South, all in Lake Zurich.
Middle School North and Spencer Loomis Elementary School, both in Hawthorn Woods, and Lake Zurich High School are the three buildings with air conditioning.
Egan said additional fans have been purchased for the buildings without central air conditioning. He said officials can adjust the heat plan, if necessary.
An air conditioning feasibility study ordered by District 95 shows it could cost $19 million to $25 million to chill the five schools. The report was prepared by RuckPate Architecture of Barrington, with assistance from Schaumburg-based 20/10 Engineering Group.