As classes resume in sweltering heat, many schools lack air conditioning

As classes resume with rising temperatures, many of the country’s schools are lacking adequate air conditioning, potentially impacting the learning environment.

Personal perspective: One English teacher in Philadelphia experiences extreme heat in his classroom, with temperatures reaching up to 93 degrees.
* The lack of air conditioning in his school exemplifies a national issue, with an estimated 36,000 public schools nationwide operating without sufficient cooling.

The bigger picture: With the rise in temperatures, both the teaching and learning environment are affected which pushes some districts like Philadelphia to start the school year later.
* However, solutions to the lack of air conditioning are not easily attainable due to complex issues including electrical grid capacity and financial constraints.

Infrastructure needs: A 2020 report by the Government Accountability Office indicated that about 41% of districts in the U.S. needed to upgrade or replace their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in at least half of their schools.
* However, financial constraints and unforeseen challenges can often prevent repairs or updates.

Health implications: Students with chronic illnesses like asthma, diabetes, and seizure disorders could face severe complications due to excessive heat.
* Kate King, head of the National Association of School Nurses, also raised concerns about increasing instances of heat-related illnesses.

Impact on learning: Beyond health concerns, academic performance may also be affected by the heat.
* A 2016 Harvard study found that students were more likely to fail an exam on a 90-degree day compared to a 72-degree day.

View original article on NPR

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