Another year, another reason to cancel classes: soaring school heat worsened by faulty or non-existent air-conditioning. School closures due to heat are not new but they have been increasing significantly, with numbers doubling in cities such as Baltimore, Cleveland, Denver and Philadelphia, Daily Kos reported.
Indeed, the problem is more severe in urbanized areas where searing temperatures are fueled by higher carbon emissions, heat traps created by tall buildings and the lack of trees and open spaces, according to CBS News.
Eleven schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District switched to remote learning Monday due to excessive heat. Buildings in Lorain and Loveland city schools, also in Ohio, shut some schools down Monday due to heat.
Some 20 Baltimore City School District buildings without air-conditioning are dismissing early on Monday and Tuesday because of blazing temperatures. The Monday high in Cleveland was in the mid-80s while temperatures in Baltimore were expected to top 90 degrees, and it will be even hotter inside classrooms.
In the Midwest, Monday was a half day for students at Ionia Public Schools in rural Michigan. Administrators expected classroom temperatures to surpass 95 degrees, with the heat outside reaching past the mid-80s.
In Denver, the city’s school system continues to grapple with school heat. When classes started Monday, the number of schools with working AC had dropped over the last two years, according to The Denver Post.
Educators in Connecticut last summer urged state lawmakers to require districts to use ESSER funds to upgrade school air-conditioning systems and make other air quality improvements. Connecticut law sets maximum temperatures for dog kennels and pet shops but not for classrooms, the state teachers union has said. “We know that when it gets too hot, students can’t learn, and teachers can’t teach,” Jeff Leake, president of the Connecticut Education Association said.