More than 3,000 students were evacuated from schools on the east side of Las Vegas on Thursday morning after power outages left classrooms sweltering.
Students at both Chaparral High School and neighboring Harris Elementary were sent home or bused to other schools that still had power before 11 a.m. following an outage caused by “damage to NV Energy equipment,” according to school and NV Energy officials.
Principals at both schools indicated in a message to parents they would continue with the school day despite the loss of electricity around 7:30 a.m., but reversed course later in the morning as temperatures continued to climb amid an excessive heat warning for the Las Vegas Valley, where the temperature reached 110 degrees.
“They just kept on teaching,” despite no water, air conditioning, windows, lights or vending machines, said Chaparral sophomore Abigail Menza, 15.
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Junior Matthew Martines said an administrator told him the temperature in the classrooms was nearly 99 degrees when he was released from class around 10:45 a.m.
Martines said that by the end of third period, around 9:40 a.m., it was “cooler outside than in the classrooms.”
Parents picked up some students; administrators said in a message to parents that Chaparral students who couldn’t be picked up would be bused to Valley High School to wait there. Harris students were being bused to Orr Middle School.
Hildy Faultersack, a humanities teacher at Chaparral, said her 7- and 8-year-old children were dismissed from Harris Elementary just after she was alerted that the high school’s students were dismissed. By the time she got there, her children had been taken to Orr.
That concerned her, she said, given the elementary school students were less than a week into school and she wasn’t told whether the siblings were even together.
Leoner Andrade was called around 9:30 a.m. and told “there was a problem” at his daughter Amy Ayala’s school.
Andrade was told he couldn’t get his fourth-grade daughter until later, and arrived at 11:20 a.m. to pick Ayala up.
NV Energy spokeswoman Jennifer Schuricht said the repairs were completed and power was restored to the schools by 12:45 p.m.