Saturday, March 25, 2023

School district issues extreme heat guidance as climate change plagues classrooms

The school district of Philadelphia issued an extreme heat protocol, sacking students early last week because of high temperatures.

The district’s chief operating officer, Reggie McNeill, issued guidance Friday, saying that when temperatures exceed 85 degrees or the heat index reaches 90, the district will begin monitoring temperatures inside each school, and students and teachers should Will recommend appropriate action for safe keeping. as early as possible.

“Exposure to extreme heat can lead to heat-related illness,” McNeil warned in a statement posted on the district’s website.

“If temperatures are expected to reach 90℉ or higher in instructional locations, we determine that a temporary shift to virtual learning or other action is necessary,” McNeil continued.

The decision will affect about 100 school buildings that do not have “adequate air conditioning systems” to keep temperatures below the threshold.

McNeill said the district is working to improve the air conditioning systems in all schools.

“Given the average age of our schools, the wide scope of work, and the available capacity and resources, each project could take two years to complete,” McNeil said.

On Tuesday, all Philadelphia public schools were ordered to dismiss students early because of the heat.

Schools in Philadelphia were not the only ones affected. According to the Baltimore Sun, public schools in downtown Baltimore also rejected students Tuesday because of air-conditioning issues or a lack of those systems altogether.

Officials in the District of Michigan cited a report from the US Government Accountability Office published Saturday that nearly 60% of schools do not have air conditioning systems. In 2019, some of those schools were forced to modify their schedules due to high temperatures.

Overall, the report said that about 41% of school districts nationwide need to update or replace heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. This equates to about 36,000 schools across the country.

Erica Weisfelner, an elementary school teacher in Farmingdale, New York, who works in a classroom without air conditioning, told The Washington Post that it can get extremely hot as summer approaches.

“I have 500 students who walk through my room every week, and when it’s uncomfortable in here, it’s like trying to keep wet noodles from sticking to the wall,” Weisfelner said.

“This is a problem for the whole of the Northeast,” she continued. “We are now starting to have even hotter and humid days at the end of April.”

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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