Teacher creates makeshift ‘air conditioner’ to cool down Kailua classroom

It’s been hot across Hawaii the past few weeks, and it could stay that way for a while, so some teachers are taking matters into their own hands thinking of creative and efficient ways to cool down their classroom.

One teacher will be trying out a makeshift “air conditioner” with her first graders on Tuesday, after the holiday break.

Cheryl Sanford is a teacher at Aikahi Elementary School in Kailua and says it can be hard to get students to focus when its hot out.

Aikahi Elementary is fourth on the Department of Education’s priority list for air conditioners.

While Sanford waits, she built a make-shift air cooling unit with supplies donated by parents. She got the idea from a friend who saw it on the internet.

She cut out two holes in a hollow styrofoam cooler and asked her first grade students to bring in frozen water bottles to put in the cooler. Then an electric fan is placed to blow out cool air.

Cooling Classrooms

“For me its more of teaching the kids we have a problem and what can we do to solve it,” said Sanford.

KHON2 spoke to a parent who also tried this device in her home but says it didn’t work for her.

Gigi Jones started the ‘Cool our Keiki’ facebook group last month to raise more awareness about the issue.

“I think it’s really an emergency situation, kids and teachers are getting sick, this isn’t something that we need to sit around and discuss,” said Jones. “We need to take action immediately.”

Sanford says she doesn’t anticipate it will cool down the whole classroom but plans to make improvements based on her students suggestions.

The ‘Cool Our Keiki’ Facebook group is holding a rally on Thursday, Sept. 10 to support teachers and students who say they are working in unbearable conditions.

It’s happening from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and again from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Miller Street near the Department of Education building.

KHON2 reached out to the Department of Education for comment on the make-shift air cooling unit, but hasn’t received a response yet.

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