School Bakes Under Record Heat Wave

Students and staff endure broken A/C in some buildings, canceled sports practices as temp reaches 116 on Tuesday

As California experiences a record-breaking hot-spell straining the Sacramento electric grid and endangering health, Rio Americano students have felt the effects. With the extreme temperatures there have been blackouts, canceled sports practices, and hot classrooms with broken air conditioning. 

On Tuesday, Sacramento recorded the hottest day with a record setting temperature of 116 degrees on the eighth day of the wave. This broke the last record of 114 degrees, which occurred in 1925, almost 100 years ago. Due to an increased usage of AC all over Sacramento, many areas experienced power outages.

During a three-hour blackout in the College Greens on Monday, freshman Isabela Leonard went to the park with her family.

“It was a bit of a struggle to hangout outside, but my family went into the shade and played soccer until it was over,” said Leonard. 

Students who participate in outdoor sports have also had a difficult time adjusting to the extreme heat. William Taylor, the new Athletics Director, follows what the school district advises.

“At 102 degrees, field sports like football are canceled, but if we go into the evening when it’s cooler, they say we can practice as long as there is no heat bounding on the field,” said Taylor.

Others who exercise outdoors, such as junior Tyga Maldonado, altered their schedule to deal with the daily temperatures.

“The heat wave makes stepping outside feel like you just opened the oven and got hit in the face with the scalding air of a 400° box,” said Maldonado. “This makes it hard to exercise for too long in the afternoon, so I have been switching to night, when it’s not so hot.”

Teachers experience the effects as well, including on campus. Physiology and Biology teacher Gina Costello did not have working AC in her classroom for a few days, making for an uncomfortable teaching and learning environment. 

With the various consequences of the recent weather, Rio staff and students have similar thoughts on the causes. 

AP Environmental Science teacher Stephanie Macklem points out the difference in average summer temperatures across time. 

“I think it’s evidence that our climate is changing and getting hotter,” said Macklem. “You can look it up and see the standard heat for certain days and how it has changed over the years.”

Many juniors think similarly.

“Whether or not man is to blame, our earth is becoming nearly inhabitable for humans and for many other species,” said Mack Kopple. “With record breaking temperatures up to 116℉, it brings lots of concern and a need for immediate change.”

For Lee Mamanson and Doaa Mohammad, the heat brings up concern for the future.

“We are already experiencing the effects of neglect towards climate change and the idea of reversal or even improvement seems to get farther and farther away,” said Mamanson. 

“The once lush and green landscapes of California and the U.S. at large are deteriorating under harsh conditions of drought,” said Mohammad. “If the issue is not addressed I guess we can start getting accustomed to frequent heatwaves and the continuation of severe biological deterioration.”

With the continuation of broken AC and fires that come with bad air quality, don’t forget to stay safe with the recommended heat precautions.