While students are out on holiday, schools are fixing up their classrooms and hallways. It is the summertime, which means it’s hot in many regions of the country, especially in southern areas like Florida, Arizona, and California. When students come back in late August/early September, the summer heat is still around and affects the students. Research has shown that hot rooms make it difficult for students to study and pay attention to the teacher. Air conditioning can give plenty of relief, but only if the schools had adequate, fully functioning air conditioning.
Schools without adequate air conditioning higher temperatures by a few degrees, which can have adverse effects on students. For every 1-degree Fahrenheit increase, there is a 1% decrease in learning. One research study measured students PSAT scores. One group took the test in a classroom an averaged temperature and one group in a classroom two degrees higher. The average scores were higher from the students who had a cooler classroom. Other studies have focused on students taking general exams in certain conditions. In warm rooms, the chance of failing a test rises to 12%. Why? A person working in high temperatures loses concentration as they focus more on finding a way to cool down.
The problem with air conditioning is more prevalent in schools in low-income areas that are overpopulated. In these schools, classroom temperatures run one to three degrees hotter than in higher income schools with proper air conditioning. There is a racial factor because these low-income schools feature a higher percentage of minority students, namely, Hispanics and Blacks. White students were from higher income schools. Many of the schools are public, and the cost of installing a new air conditioning system is not within the school administration budget.
Air conditioning in schools is becoming more essential because of climate change. It is up to government officials to counter the rising temperature and focus on more Eco-friendly ways to use energy that allows air conditioning to work for all. Global increased temperatures mean that all students, regardless of where they are, will be affected. Improving school infrastructure should be an immediate “yes,” but local governments with numerous issues have yet to commit.
Anyone around hot temperatures can easily suffer from dehydration, heat stroke, and nausea. In the sweltering southern locations the heat lasts longer than in the north, and air conditioning is more critical in schools. Having the classrooms maintain a comfortable temperature improves students’ energy levels and increases the students’ ability to maintain focus.