In places where snow is common, schools close if a certain temperature and snowfall is reached, why do schools that are in the middle of a heat wave and have broken air conditioning not get the same treatment?
The California central valley is notorious for its drought and heat exceeding 100 degrees. This extreme weather is just as detrimental to students as snow.
In Sacramento, the average temperature in May, June, and August is over 90 degrees and the air quality is poor.
Late May through September, Sacramento air quality is “unhealthy for sensitive groups” according to AirNow. This air quality typically affects young teenagers, elderly people, people with lung disease and athletes.
Athletes that practice in this air are at risk of contracting various diseases with short and long term effects. Continuously practicing in these conditions, can lead to serious illnesses such as respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Football players spend their summers outside, in a dirt field, running and breathing in this unhealthy air. Combine this with the heat and athletes are being put at serious risk.
During school months, especially May, June, and August, temperatures run high and students are forced to sit in packed classrooms, worry about finals and other stressful school work and in some classrooms, aren’t given air conditioning.
If the district is forcing students to go back to school this early, then schools should give mandatory water breaks every half hour and all classrooms should have air conditioning if the room is over 80 degrees.
If the forecast is over 95, school should be closed for the day. It’s not fair that students have to suffer and sweat through the heat when schools on the east coast close for snow.
Students at Westview High School in Beaverton, Oregon conducted an experiment to see how well students could perform in classrooms with different temperatures. Their final results showed that students in classrooms that were 81 degrees received test scores that were 20 percent less than students in classrooms that were 72 degrees.
This experiment proves that heat has a severe effect on students ability to learn.
If a day is deemed a “Spare The Air Day”, practices should be cancelled for all outdoor sports or accommodations should be made to allow for an indoor practice. If a forecast exceeds 95 degrees, school should be closed, and if there is a period of time where consecutive days exceed 90 degrees, water breaks and air conditioning need to be provided.
Anything less than this risks both students’ and athletes’ health and grades; it also borders on child abuse.