SAN DIEGO – Some schools in the Poway Unified School District are dealing with AC challenges amid the heat wave in Southern California.

The Poway Unified School District said they are working to make students comfortable by bringing in fans and portable AC units but have had to implement early release due to the extreme temps.

District officials said the HVAC system for Bernardo Heights Middle School and Rancho Bernardo High School is “outdated and unreliable.”

“What’s it like inside, no AC?” FOX 5 asked middle schoolers.

“Hot and humid…like I’m melting, my skin is melting off… it’s hot,” answered Susana Franco Lopez and Audriann Ventura, students at Bernardo Heights Middle School.

It’s been inconsistent AC for Bernardo Heights Middle School and Rancho Bernardo High School, since the beginning of the school year.

Franco Lopez and Ventura said they have to adjust.

“I like to wear makeup– it melts off as soon as I get to campus,” Ventura said.

Franco Lopez added, “I like to wear pants, my legs are always sweaty, and my feet are always hot…it’s horrible.”

In a letter to staff and families, the Poway Unified School District said:

Bernardo Heights:

Dear BHMS Families,
Today was the first full day of school with the newly installed chiller, and unfortunately it could not handle the load of providing AC for both RBHS and BHMS. The AC stopped working effectively after 1pm, so the District is bringing in a second chiller to be installed to address the issue. This means the entire system will have to be taken offline again for the installation this week. Unfortunately, due to the excessive heat warning being extended through Friday, this means we will have to reimplement 12pm early release days Wednesday (9/7), Thursday (9/8), and Friday (9/9) until the second chiller can be installed and up and running. If your child rides the bus, they will be able to have transportation at the early release time.   If your child attends ASES, ASES will be available starting at our noon dismissal.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and appreciate your ongoing patience and understanding during this unusually hot season.

Ranch Bernardo:

Dear RBHS Families,
Today was the first full day of school with the newly installed chiller, and unfortunately it could not handle the load of providing AC for both RBHS and BHMS. The AC stopped working effectively after 1pm, so the District is bringing in a second chiller to be installed to address the issue. This means the entire system will have to be taken offline again for the installation this week. Unfortunately, due to the excessive heat warning being extended through Friday, this means we will have to reimplement 1:15pm early release days Wednesday (9/7), Thursday (9/8), and Friday (9/9) until the second chiller can be installed and up and running. If your child rides the bus, they will be able to have transportation at the early release time.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and appreciate your ongoing patience and understanding during this unusually hot season.

The district said they are bringing in a second chiller but that in the meantime, they are also working to get portable AC units and more fans.

“Some of the AC units are broken, the fans don’t really do much. Hard for the teachers, had a teacher lose her voice,” Ventura said.

Dean has two kids at Bernardo Heights, one is a student the other is an instructional aide. The father, along with dozens of other parents, are now having to pick up their kids early from school.

“I’ve had workers that had to reschedule because they don’t know when to pick up my kid, or when to reschedule that, had to reschedule doc appointments,” Dean said.

Roselyn Finones, a Bernardo Heights parent, said “sometimes picking them up can be an inconvenience, especially when you don’t know ahead of time when they are off early,”

Despite years of work, the district said the HVAC system for the two schools is beyond repair.

They are now looking to replace the entire 32-year-old system, which will cost an estimated $10 million.

“We’ve been talking to architects about what that is going to look like, how long that is going to take. It is a project that we have already been exploring,” Paik said