Would anyone disagree with the fact that the weather is the main topic of conversation these days? It’s been hot. There’s no doubt about it. But whether it’s been hotter than any time in the past is a matter of memory.
We’re just happy that school has not been in session during our recent days of triple-digit temperatures. With the start of the new school year quickly approaching, we can only hope that those temperatures do not return once our children are back in school. Whether we can count on Mother Nature’s cooperation once they’re back is a matter of wait-and-see.
In the meantime, we’re not sitting on our hands. One of the primary jobs our maintenance people are faced with is making certain that all of our air conditioning equipment is operating properly. The fact that they’re working properly a few weeks before school opens is no guaranty that they will work properly in the event of another heat wave. If it isn’t, it could mean that parts need to be ordered to deal with the problem. It’s not unlike a problem you might encounter with your home unit. It’s as frustrating for you just as it is for our maintenance people.
Something that all parents may not understand is that, because some schools are too large to be accommodated by a central air conditioning system, there may be multiple units in use at schools that are susceptible to having problems. Besides that, there is the possibility that certain areas in the school may have air conditioning while others do not. To cover such areas, we operate more than 100 window units.
Since we sometimes are faced with hot weather emergencies that our maintenance people are unable to deal with because of time restraints, we often find it necessary to contract with air conditioning firms.
While you can certainly understand the concern of parents when their child’s school experiences are affected by whether or not the air conditioning is working properly, you should understand that complaining about it — whether to school officials or the media — can’t possibly get things done any faster. If there’s a delivery delay, all you can do is wait. Upon delivery, they’re installed as quickly as possible.
Understand, too, that our maintenance people may also have children in school and don’t want them to go without air conditioning any longer than necessary either. It’s just unfortunate that the air conditioning equipment seems to break down in the middle of a heat wave despite precautions. Mother Nature may not always cooperate, but we do our level best to keep her at bay.
Johnny Hunt is the superintendent of the Public Schools of Robeson County.