With an unbearable heatwave, teachers demand air conditioning as classrooms only get warmer, data shows


SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — As students and teachers can attest, classrooms are getting hotter and hotter. A recent report found that more than 13,700 public schools in the United States that didn’t need HVAC systems in 1970 have installed them or will need to install them by 2025.

Three Oakland teachers sent ABC7 news photos of their thermometers and thermostats.

At 8:28 a.m. Tuesday morning, it was 76 degrees outside and nearly 81 degrees in the classroom. Another Oakland teacher recorded 85 degrees indoors.

It’s been an unbearably long week in these schools that never really needed air conditioning.

“It’s 11:20 a.m. right now and it’s 80 degrees in my classroom right now,” said Olivia Udovic, a kindergarten teacher from Oakland.

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She even showed an ABC7 video of her class as her students lay on the mat.

Higher temperatures have a negative effect on learning.

“It’s really hard for them to focus, to really connect and to absorb the current curriculum that I’m still trying to teach,” added Udovic.

At Pinole High Valley High School, at least 21 staff members reported sick on Wednesday when the air conditioning system malfunctioned, which is an ongoing problem.

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A teacher recorded the temperature inside a classroom, 88.5 degrees. The problem is now solved.

“Right now, what we can do is do our best to plan for the next time something as big as this happens,” explained Ryan Phillips, director of communications for West Contra Costa Unified. School District.

According to a Center for Climate Integrity report titled “Hotter Days and America’s Classrooms,” more than 2,600 school districts have now been added to the list of those who will experience at least 32 days during the school year of 80 degrees or more. by 2025. That’s a 39% increase since 1970.

Thirty-two days above 80 degrees is usually the time to install HVAC systems. Looking ahead, an expensive proposition for any school district.

“We must prioritize the investment of our taxes in the learning conditions of our students”, insisted Udovic.

Sacramento lawmakers are scrambling to enact a multi-billion dollar bond measure to install new HVAC systems in schools.

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