Schools scramble to prepare for summer heat

Published 12:04 am Monday, August 10, 2015

NATCHEZ — Skyrocketing temperatures have become a hot topic of conversation lately.

With a high of 99 on Sunday, and predictions for 100 degrees today, everyone is doing their best to keep cool.

School starts today in the Natchez-Adams School District. Because of the power outage on Aug. 1, Superintendent Dr. Frederick Hill said air conditioning units in a few classrooms were damaged.

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“Until last Saturday we had 100 percent of our air conditioning units working,” Hill said.

However, now Hill said some of the units in the classrooms have to be replaced, and maintenance crews are currently working on them.

Until they’re replaced, Hill said students will be moved to empty classrooms with air conditioning.

“Every child will be in a classroom in which air conditioning will be working,” Hill said.

But for those who had to brave the heat Sunday, they had to use old-fashioned methods. Travis Isaac, who is originally from Natchez, came back from Denver to visit family.

“It’s much more humid here,” Isaac said.

Isaac was part of a crew washing down the Post Office’s trucks, which he works with when he comes back to visit. He always wears a hat and keeps hydrated.

“I try to take as many breaks as possible,” Isaac said.

And, because water hoses are available, Isaac likes to use them to cool off too.

“I imitate rain,” Isaac said. “I spray it in the air and let it fall down.”

But few things can beat ice cream. Katie May brought Emma Windham, 9, and her friend Madeline Foley, 10, to the Dairy Queen on John R. Junkin Drive.

Both girls enjoyed having ice cream on the hot day. Foley, the daughter of Jennifer and Bob Foley, was still finishing her mini Oreo Blizzard as they walked out of the restaurant.

But for Windham, the daughter of Katie May and Chad Windham, her Dairy Queen ice cream sandwich was long gone.

She said she avoided the heat by “playing inside and eating popsicles.” She’s excited about returning to school at Vidalia Upper Elementary today, except for one thing.

“I’m not excited for the heat,” Windham said.

Others, like the Rev. Walton Jones of Trinity Episcopal Church, preferred less sensory methods. Jones does a service at Christ Episcopal Church in Church Hill once a month.

Unlike Trinity, they don’t have air conditioning.

“Thankfully the windows open,” Jones said.

But Jones said if mailmen can deliver when it snows outside, then he can make the monthly service.

“The people of Church Hill are worth it,” Walton said.

When it gets hot, like it did on Sunday, Jones said he wears a t-shirt and shorts beneath his vestments. To him though, staying cool is a state of mind.

“All you can do to beat the heat is plan appropriately and praise the Lord anyway,” Jones said.