IN THE NEWS:  Ewa Beach teacher treated for heat exhaustion

Ewa Beach teacher treated for heat exhaustion

By Star-Advertiser staff

POSTED: 6:47 p.m. HST, Sep 2, 2015

“It’s widespread in Ewa,” Pimentel said Wednesday. “It’s bad. Somebody needs to do something about it.”
Ewa Beach Elementary is on the top of the DOE’s air conditioning priority list, followed by Ilima Intermediate and Campbell High. Concerns have been raised over the hot temperatures in classrooms, which has prompted community and business donation campaigns for fans and air conditioning units.

The DOE estimates that it will cost $1.7 billion to install air conditioning in all of its schools. The department has implemented other heat-abatement options, including the use of solar-powered ventilators, solar lights and ceiling fans. The goal is for classroom temperatures to be at 76 degrees.

Education officials pressed for solutions after teacher hospitalized for heat exhaustion

By Alex Cerball
Published: September 2, 2015, 10:33 pm Updated: September 2, 2015, 10:36 pm

The hot and humid weather has taken a dangerous toll at our schools.

A teacher at Ewa Beach Elementary School drove herself to the hospital Tuesday for heat exhaustion.

For weeks, KHON2 has been following the efforts to keep students and teachers cool while they’re at school.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association told KHON2 it plans to meet with the state Department of Education and lawmakers this month to work on a solution to cool down the classrooms.

“Our children deserve better. They deserve an environment that they can focus on learning and not have to focus on the heat,” said HSTA president Corey Rosenlee.

Rosenlee says he wants to bring together the major players and bring down the cost to find a solution to hot classrooms.

“Right now, each year we are spending $2 to $3 million on air conditioning and the current budget they said is $1.7 billion. At this rate it could be a couple hundred years before we get to them,” he said.

When it comes to air conditioning, Ewa Beach Elementary is first on the priority list, followed by Ilima Intermediate, which is also in Ewa Beach. Campbell High, Aikahi Elementary and Kaimiloa Elementary round out the list.

In an email, a DOE spokesperson said workers have installed roofing insulation while an electrical upgrade is being done at Ewa Beach Elementary. Air conditioning can’t be installed until that upgrade is completed. Ceiling fans have also been installed in each classroom.

Derek Santos, Ewa Beach Elementary vice principal, says teachers are keeping track of how hot it is.

“We have had a couple of parent concerns, so we are working with the parents and encouraging students to have water bottles and stay hydrated in school,” he said.

Santos says even though the school is on the priority list, he doesn’t know if all the classrooms will be air conditioned.

“We are allotted $2 million from the state. Hopefully we will see how far that $2 million can go,” he said.

Rosenlee is pursuing the option of heat days and is suggesting the DOE use solar air conditioning.

The DOE encourages staff and students to keep hydrated and report and illnesses to the school administration.

Oahu teacher sent to ER due to heat exhaustion in classroom

Posted: Sep 02, 2015 3:16 PM HST
Updated: Sep 02, 2015 6:53 PM HST

By Jim Mendoza

EWA BEACH, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Jennifer Pimentel said around noon Tuesday, the culmination of weeks of working in a hot classroom came to a head.

“I started to feel dizzy, and I started to feel really fatigued, and I couldn’t hold myself up,” she said.

She drove herself to the emergency room where doctors treated her for hours.

“They told me that I was dehydrated,” she said.  “They told me that I had heat exhaustion, and they told me I had issues that would lead up to possible heat stroke,” she said.

Pimentel teaches at Ewa Beach Elementary, top school on the DOE’s list for air conditioning. But they won’t get it this year. Kanoe Clarin also teaches there.

“I’m worried about the children because it’s so hot. They have their water bottles, but even though they keep drinking water, they look exhausted,” she said.

“Parents are informing me that they’re children feel fatigued. They’re pale. They’re vomiting. That’s serious,” Pimentel said.

She bought fans for her classroom. But they circulate hot air. She has been told she can’t bring in a portable air conditioner or accept a donated AC because of electrical issues.

“It’s long list of problems.  I would say, find some kind of resolution for us,” she said.

Pimentel said if she got sick, and she’s an adult, imagine what the overheating is doing to the kids.

“It’s either going to be a staff member or it’s going to be a student that has some kind of major, major either illness or some kind of heat stroke or heat exhaustion,” she said.

The DOE released the following statement:

It is the hottest time of year and El Nino weather conditions are making Hawaii’s summer even hotter, with record breaking temperatures across the Islands.

We encourage all of our staff and students to keep hydrated and report any illnesses to the school administration.

The Department is building heat abatement projects as fast as they are funded. Those projects that involve air conditioning can face delays depending on the electrical capacity of the campus.

Join the conversation on Facebook.