ILLINOIS – The start of the school year is heating up in the wrong way at several high schools across the Metro East. The problems come amid this week’s triple-digit temperatures.

“If you go in there, you will pass out; it’s that hot,” said Mary Thomas, a sophomore at Cahokia Heights High School.

Thomas explained that the heat in the hallways is just as bad as the heat outdoors.

She’s not alone. Her classmates say it’s been hard to focus inside classrooms without air conditioning. It’s something they’ve had to cope with for several years.

“You’re focused on your body temperature more than your school,” Thomas said.

“We want to come to school and learn and focus. How can we learn and focus if it’s so hot we feel like we need to pass (out), which I almost did today!”

Similar issues are plaguing schools across the Metro East.

“On Monday, we lost a circulating pump to the system. And last night, we had some issues with our cooling tower,” said Brian Mentzer, superintendent of Belleville School District 118.

In Granite City, older systems are the cause of a lack of air conditioning for high schoolers. They’re now teaching virtually for the rest of the week. But in Belleville, they’re trying to regulate indoor temperatures.

“We’re interjecting cold, fresh water into the system,” Mentzer said. “It’s very difficult when you lose your recapture period overnight. It’s very difficult to make that up at 5 in the morning, which is what we did.”

They have a reliable, large-scale cooling system

“System issues, very obviously upsetting because we do have a reliable system, and it’s caused us some issues this week,” he said.

In Belleville, we’ve been told the issues should be resolved come Wednesday. As for Cahokia Heights, we haven’t gotten an answer on when the climate will be fixed.