Oct. 2, 2002 – Hundreds of students at Charlotte Amalie High School were sent to study hall on Wednesday when all of the physical education teachers called in sick.
Principal Jeanette Smith-Barry said she hadn't heard from any of the school's nine gym teachers as to why they all called in sick on the same day, but she had a strong hint that it had something to do with the CAHS gymnasium.
"We all know what the problem is. The heat is unbearable some days in the gym, and everybody knows it," Smith-Barry said.
District Superintendent William Frett and Keith Richards, Government House capital improvements project manager, paid a visit to the gym on Wednesday. Smith-Barry said they had come to look at some other work projects but took the opportunity to assess the gymnasium situation while they were there.
Neither Frett nor Richards could be reached for comment later Wednesday.
Education Department spokeswoman Juel Anderson said construction of a new CAHS gym is on the governor's project list and was brought up at a press conference held by acting Commissioner Noreen Michael prior to the start of the current school year.
Reports were circulating but could not be confirmed that the p.e. teachers were protesting because a female student fainted in the gym earlier this week. Smith-Barry said she hadn't heard of such an incident, nor had the school nurse.
She said there have been instances of students running on the track inside the gym and experiencing problems because of excessive temperatures.
As a short-term solution, the use of exhaust fans is being explored, Smith-Barry said. The Public Finance Authority has offered to assist, and Smith-Barry said the heat situation in the gym could improve by next month.
Smith said she hopes to resolve the issue with her gym teachers by Thursday and have students return to their normal class schedules by then, including physical education class.
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