Heat wave may prompt early release for Portland Public Schools - KPTV - FOX 12

Heat wave may prompt early release for Portland Public Schools

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With triple-digit temperatures on the way, Portland Public School leaders are considering early release for students next week if the heat is unbearable.

Lavonna Zeller Williams-Bratschi is a music teacher at Llewellyn Elementary in Sellwood. The building is more than 100 years old and it doesn’t have air conditioning.

Zeller Williams-Bratschi doesn’t mind when her class gets noisy or even a little rowdy. But steamy and sweaty, she could do without.

“It gets hot on the stage and it’s not always comfortable. We dress accordingly," said Zeller Williams-Bratschi.

When students get too hot, Zeller Williams-Bratschi says they get cranky and tired. So she keeps the air moving in every direction and encourages kids to bring whatever they need to stay cool.

“Maybe a cold bandana on the head and fans….fans, fans, fans," Zeller Williams-Bratschi said.

“Our teachers get very creative with how they’re going to deal with the heat,” said Principal Joe Galati. “Sometimes they’re in the hallways. Sometimes they’re taking little walks to go to a cooler area.”

Early in the morning, Galati says his custodian opens all the doors and uses giant carpet fans to blow cool air inside. Since the school’s tap water is still off limits because of on-going lead concerns, there are also huge water jugs at every turn.

Galati says just watching the kids closely is key.

“Seeing kids, hey how’s your water bottle? You full? You need more water? We know we’re going to have a few headaches so we have to make sure the hydration continues," Galati said.

Llewellyn teachers are asking parents to dress their children in light, airy clothes next week. If things go from hot to horrible, Zeller Williams-Bratschi says she will adjust.

“I don’t want to exert them too much. I think they’re already doing that. So we’re just going to be calm and - pun intended – we’re going to try to chill," said Zeller Williams-Bratschi.

Only seven out of 79 schools in the district have air conditioning.

District leaders plan to treat next Tuesday and Wednesday like snow days. They will assess the weather conditions the day of and if the heat is too intense, they will have early release from school.

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