BOUNTIFUL -- Temperatures at Muir Elementary School have taken a toll on teachers as well as students. Some students have had nosebleeds, at least one fainted in a hot classroom and others are complaining of nausea.
The temperature was 88 degrees in Candice Taylor's classroom at 8 a.m. Thursday when she got to school, and by 10 a.m. it was 90 degrees. Afternoon temperatures were higher. The sixth-grade teacher's husband said she comes home drained every day because of the high temperatures in the school.
The sixth-grade classrooms are on the second floor of the building, where crowding in classrooms also adds to the heat. Even with four fans blowing the hot air around, the room stays extremely hot, Taylor said.
"It is like logging time until the heat subsides," Taylor said, because it is difficult for the students to learn when they are dealing with the heat.
Taylor said she had to sit down Wednesday when she began to show signs of heat stroke, and she said other teachers are feeling the same. She sent a boy to the office to cool down when he said he couldn't see straight.
Taylor said one of her students fainted earlier in the week because of the heat.
"Right now is the hottest weather of the year. Why not start school after Labor Day?" Taylor asked.
Taylor knows the cost of adding air conditioning is high, so she is not asking for that, but rather a later start date. "We know the budgets are strained," she said.
People who make the decisions about when to start school in the fall are those who work in air-conditioned offices and buildings, she said.
"Our principal has air conditioning, but we don't," Taylor said. "When one of those people tell us to just suck it up, it doesn't feel right.
"We are supposed to provide a safe place where students can learn. It is not safe anymore when the temperatures are unbearable," Taylor added.
Muir Principal Jan Rawlins said everything possible is being done to cool down the students.
"Students have water bottles, and some classrooms are giving out Popsicles. We are using cool cloths on their foreheads and necks and finding as much shade as we can," Rawlins said. "My portable classroom teacher said teachers could share her classroom.
"You can tell when kids get red faces that the heat is getting to them, so we get them a cool cloth. Parents are very concerned," Rawlins said.
Shauna Lund, community relations specialist for Davis School District said, "Teachers are used to this. They have dealt with it in years past. They have fans, and the children have bottles of water."
She said one teacher used a spray bottle to spray the students with water in front of a fan.
Lund said the district has received many calls and emails about the buildings being too hot.
"We have talked about starting school one week later, and that was the least popular option with parents," Lund said, adding that to start later would mean school would end later than any other district in the state, and teachers compete for summer jobs.
"Actually, we are slowly putting air conditioning in the schools," Lund said.
The district has 86 schools, with 45 of those schools totally air-conditioned. Some of the other schools are partially air-conditioned.
As schools are renovated, air conditioning is added. Layton High School is under renovation, so it will be air-conditioned.
Lund said Kaysville Junior High will be the next school to get air conditioning, but she doesn't know if that will happen next year or the year after.
According to a 2006 assessment, it would cost the district $52 million to add air conditioning to every school districtwide, Lund said.
Nate Taggart, spokesman for Weber School District, said about half of the district's 43 schools are not air-conditioned.
District officials have provided schools with information about cooling strategies to help students and staff cope with the heat, he said.
The district's elementary schools are on half-day schedules this week, he said, which has helped the situation.
One student this week waiting for a bus did experience some heat-related issues, but a nearby aide handled the situation quickly, Taggart said.
Donna Corby, spokeswoman for the Ogden School District, said she had not received any reports of heat- related problems.
She said about half the district's elementary schools do not have air conditioning.