20 Santa Barbara schools without air conditioning amid heat wave

District says it has a heat plan

20 Santa Barbara schools without air conditioning amid heat wave

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Students in the Santa Barbara Unified School District are sitting in hot classrooms this week.

There are 20 school campuses in the district and all are without school-wide air conditioning. 

"It's super hot and I don’t understand how the kids can stay inside the classroom," said Lina Hernandez, a concerned grandparent. 

“Some of our classrooms, our portable classrooms, that are air-conditioned, but none of our schools were created with air conditioning," said Frann Wageneck, assistant superintendent. 

Temperatures are expected to rise and stay hot for the next couple of days. 

“I always tell her to drink a lot of water if she’s a little bit hot she can put a little bit of water on top of her head," said Hernandez.

District officials pay close attention to alerts sent by the National Weather Service. If there is a heat advisory, the district implements its "heat plan, which includes staying hydrated, modifying outdoor activities and monitoring the students closely. 

“They limit activity such as distance running, basketball, soccer, where students would be expending a lot of heat and then it extends to junior high and high school with athletics," said Wageneck.

The district is working to reconfigure classrooms to find the best way to keep students cool and comfortable. It is also looking into investing in misters.

However, not all parents want classrooms to be air conditioned. Some would rather want teachers to remind students to apply sun screen. 

“I don’t think it’s healthy for there to be such a big temperature change from outside and inside. What I am really seriously concerned about is the fact there isn’t a standard procedure to remind students to have sunscreen on when they’re exposed to extreme heat," said Yara Elsherbini, parent.

Here are some tips provided by the district for parents:

  • Encouraging students to wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing and drink plenty of water.
  • Never leave a child in an enclosed vehicle, even for a short period of time as the temperature inside a vehicle can be much higher than the air outside (sometimes by 50 to 75 degrees or more).
  • Know the signs and symptoms of heat illness, including sunburn, heat cramps, health exhaustion, and heat stroke.


For more information on how to understand heat alerts from the National Weather Services, and what to do before and during extreme heat events, please click here.

Reporter Vicky Nguyen will have a live report at 6:00 p.m. Check back later for additional content.

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