Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 July 2019

School's broken air-conditioning sparks parent complaints

Parents with children at the private school in Sharjah say some units have not worked since Eid

Pupils in a classroom. Alyazia Al Yousif / The National
Pupils in a classroom. Alyazia Al Yousif / The National

Pupils at a private school in Sharjah have returned home from school with signs of heat exhaustion due to malfunctioning air-conditioning units.

Worried parents said their sons' and daughters’ clothing was wet through after spending the day in hot classrooms.

Some of the units are understood to have stopped working on the Thursday before the start of the Eid Al Fitr holiday.

Parents said they feared their children could suffer from dehydration or even heat stroke if the issue was not resolved quickly.

School authorities said the problem had only lasted a day and had now been fixed.

“My son’s clothes were basically wet,” said Jordanian Sahar Hamzeh, who has two children at Rosary School in the emirate.

“I asked my daughter and her brother about their red faces and sweaty clothes and only then did I find out the AC in school was not working.”

Some parents at the school in the Muwaileh area of Sharjah spoke to The National about their concerns.

They described trying to take up the problem with school authorities but finding themselves bounced around between administration officials without a resolution.

Some air-conditioning units at the school are functioning correctly while others work poorly. Meanwhile, some floors of the school are without any air-conditioning.

“I discovered that some classes on the ground floor have working air-conditioning units which have been repaired,” Ms Hamzeh said.

“Other classes on the same floor have poorly functioning AC units while classes on the first floor are without ACs.”

Basila Taha, 40, said her daughter, Fareeda, came home from Grade 2 on the Thursday before the Eid holiday looking extremely red in the face.

“She arrived home and took off her uniform, something she normally does not do,” the mother of two said. “Her face was very red and her clothes all sweaty.”

When she asked her daughter why she looked so hot she was told air-conditioning at the school had not been working.

“It was so hot I couldn’t breathe,” Fareeda told The National. “I drank my entire water bottle.”

Parent Younis Mohammed, who also has two children at the school, said the issue had become unacceptable.

“My children said the AC was not working for almost three days before the holiday,” Mr Mohammed said.

“Even after the break some AC units have not been repaired. This is pure indifference from the school’s part.

“The children are currently taking their final exams. How can we expect them to focus and answer correctly when their brains are boiling in this soaring heat?"

Speaking on behalf of Rosary School, academic adviser Amer Rusheidat confirmed the premises did have issues with its air-conditioning on Sunday, but that the problem had been resolved the next day.

“Only one or two compressors were damaged on the morning of Sunday," Mr Rusheidat said.

"We immediately called maintenance and repairs were done within three to four hours, and by Monday morning the AC was working.”

Responding to complaints from parents that air-conditioning units had not been working as far back as before the Eid holiday, he said: “You know, it was very hot and humidity was somewhere around 60 per cent.

"It takes time for AC units to cool an entire area. I suffered the same problem.”

Updated: June 19, 2019 04:00 AM

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