Two Kansas schools cancel classes due to HVAC breakdown amid heatwave


Students and staff at two Kansas schools had to stay home on Tuesday due to problems with their HVAC systems. The schools, Horace Mann Dual Language Magnet in Wichita and McPherson High School in McPherson, experienced rising temperatures in their classrooms as the outside heat index reached over 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

According to Susan Arensman, a spokesperson for Wichita Public Schools, the air conditioning at Horace Mann stopped working late on Monday, causing the temperature inside to reach close to 90 degrees. She said it was a safety concern for the students and staff, and that classes on Tuesday had to be canceled.

Two Kansas schools cancel classes due to HVAC breakdown amid heatwave`
Two Kansas schools cancel classes due to HVAC breakdown amid heatwave

McPherson High School also faced similar issues early on Monday morning, and decided to send everyone home around 10:45 a.m. The school district overnighted a repair part for the system, hoping to resume classes on Wednesday.

Local heating and cooling company sees surge in calls

The HVAC breakdowns at the schools are not isolated incidents, as a local heating and cooling company reported receiving hundreds of calls a day for repairs at homes. Mike Mcdowell, the owner of Dan’s Heating and Cooling, said that the equipment is being pushed beyond its efficiency and struggles to keep up with the extreme heat.

He advised homeowners to check their filters regularly and have their systems serviced at least once a year. He also suggested setting the thermostat at a reasonable temperature and avoiding turning it off and on frequently.

Schools hope for bond approval to upgrade HVAC systems

Both Wichita and McPherson school districts are hoping for voters to approve bonds that would allow them to upgrade their HVAC systems. Wichita Public Schools has a $370 million bond proposal on the November ballot, which includes $15 million for HVAC improvements at 17 schools. McPherson USD 418 has a $112 million bond proposal, which includes $10 million for HVAC renovations.

Shiloh Vincent, the superintendent of McPherson USD 418, said that some of their equipment is still original from when the school was built in 1963. He said that they need to replace it to ensure a comfortable and safe learning environment for the students and staff.

Parents and students adjust to unexpected school closure

Parents and students at Horace Mann and McPherson High School had to adjust their plans after learning about the school closure. The schools notified them through automated calls, texts, emails, and social media posts on Sunday night and Monday morning.

Some parents expressed frustration and inconvenience, while others were understanding and supportive of the decision. Some students said they were happy to have a day off, while others said they were bored and missed their friends.

The schools said they have contingency plans in place in case the HVAC issues take longer to fix. They also said they have enough extra days in their calendar to avoid making up the time later in the year.


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