Students at four schools in District 189 sent home early

News-DemocratMay 20, 2014 

— It was too hot for the students at four of the schools in East St. Louis District 189 and that led to school officials dismissing school early Tuesday.

Thieves stole copper and other parts from air conditioning units at Officer Elementary School, Vivian Adams Early Childhood Education Center, Lincoln and Mason Clark middle schools earlier this month rendering the units not operational.

School officials said while the thieves who disabled the units will get a small amount, the district will spend more than $100,000 on repairs.

When the conditions inside for the students become unbearable and make it difficult for them to learn, district spokesperson Beth Shepperd said schools must close early.

"We dismissed the students at 12:30 (p.m.), because it was too hot in the classrooms," Shepperd said.

The district will make decisions on future closures on a day-by-day basis, according to school officials.

"We will monitor the heat index which is a combination of temperature and humidity, and if it approaches the danger level, we will dismiss early," Shepperd said.

The district has some children with health issues like asthma and other respiratory conditions, and it is not safe for them if it gets too hot, Shepperd said.

Parents were notified of Tuesday's early dismissal through media releases, the district's website and robo calls.

Wednesday is expected to be even warmer than Tuesday with a high nearing 90 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

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