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LA Unified stays cool in the heat; repair calls for air conditioners remain relatively low

Mike Szymanski | October 24, 2017

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With temperatures skirting the 100-degree mark for much of this week, LA Unified remains on top of air conditioning repairs in the school district and has not called for shortened days like neighboring Southern California school districts.

“LA Unified does not have shortened days planned,” said Elvia Perez Caño, of LAUSD’s Communications and Media Relations for Facilities. She said all the schools and sports programs will follow heat stress protocols for the early part of the week.

In an interoffice bulletin circulated by Robert Laughton, the director of the Office of Environment Health and Safety, he asked that administrators follow heat stress instructions that keeps students inside during sports activities and that: “Employees working outside or in other areas where heat may be a factor, must be provided with access to water and periodic shade.”

Laughton pointed out that the National Weather Service issued a wind advisory through Wednesday for Los Angeles County and that “caution should be taken in areas where tree branches and/or other potentially airborne objects are subject to wind damage.”  He asked that students and staff be kept away from these areas while high winds are present and that broken or fallen trees or debris be reported immediately.

As far as the air conditioners, 179 calls came in the first day of the heatwave when in the past more than 500 calls have come in during similar streaks. As of Tuesday, 712 active calls were in “which is low considering the heat wave we’re in,” Caño said. In a heatwave about this time two years ago, the district was fielding 2,600 calls.

Work crews completed 125 calls on Monday alone. The low amount of calls are due to the $300 million in preventive maintenance the district has been doing to the more than 30,000 classrooms with air conditioning units, and upgrading antiquated systems that are more than 30 years old.

“Things are going smooth,” Caño said. “Our service call count is at very manageable numbers.”

At the moment, most of the issues are occurring at Maywood Academy in Maywood, the Richard Slawson Occupational Center in Bell and South Region High School #15 in San Pedro, according to the facilities reports.

Other school districts have shortened their school days in anticipation of the record-breaking heat. Long Beach Unified School District called for minimum days, ending at noon at their schools Monday and Tuesday because about 60 percent of their schools have limited, outdated or no air conditioning.

San Diego Unified also called for minimum days and Coronado Unified closed the schools on Monday due to the hot  weather.

Downtown Los Angeles hit 102 degrees Monday and Tuesday, and the Burbank International Airport in the San Fernando Valley recorded 101, according to the National Weather Service.  The high temperatures broke records set in 1965.


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