How to protect students from the heat wave inside the classroom?  31 degrees at ten in the morning

Up to 41 provinces suffer this Tuesday the first great heat wave of the summer – only a large part of the Cantabrian area, part of the Mediterranean coast and the Canary Islands are saved – and minors are among the most affected, since many of the centers do not have with air conditioning installations, already common in any office and many houses. For this reason, the governments of the most affected regions are forced to take measures to avoid fainting, headaches, nausea, circulatory and cardiac disorders and sometimes even seizures, but they do not provide large means to the centers, which seek help in home remedies. Fortunately, masks that cover the face are no longer mandatory, although they are worn in classrooms where there are infected children.

In Andalusia, the Sustainable Air Conditioning and Energy Rehabilitation Program was launched in 2017 to install air conditioners in centers, replace blinds with exterior slats, create insulated and ventilated roofs to prevent overheating and fill patios with plants and trees to there is shade outside. That program is still running and the complaints multiply these days of suffocating heat. The general secretary of the CC OO teaching federation in Andalusia, Marina Vega, lamented in a statement this Tuesday: “Once again, the Andalusian Government has been caught by the bull and the classrooms are still not bioclimatically adapted to the needs real ones that are presented to us. This is due, without a doubt, to a clear lack of foresight and investment in public education”.

The parents of the Al Andalus school in Utrera (Seville), for example, have agreed with the center’s management that the children leave classes at twelve in the morning. There is a pre-installation of air, the families point out, that does not work. At that time, the schoolchildren from the Mediterráneo school in Córdoba will also leave, which are without air conditioning or shade in the courtyard, according to the parents.

In Andalusia there is a 60-page protocol also since 2017 that is repeated every year at least in June and September, but they do not rule out applying it at other times. Students can be absent from class if they notify the center and parents are asked to send the children to class with fresh clothes, sun protection and a good breakfast.

Water vaporizers in Murcia

As in Andalusia, in the Region of Murcia, high temperatures in classrooms are not new. For this reason, the Ministry of Education already includes in its instructions for the start of the course guidelines so that the centers can adapt their schedules to inclement weather and make the school day more flexible in those months, explains a spokesperson. From the Ministry of Education they point out that there would be no problem in allowing parents to pick up students earlier, but both the Administration, teachers and parent associations recognize that this measure has not been put into practice. A director of a public school for infant and primary education, who prefers not to give his name, explains the reason: “The centers already have a continuous day throughout the year, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., which in June and September is cut one hour . The fact that children finish classes at 1:00 p.m. each year generates numerous criticisms from families, due to the conciliation problems that it entails. I don’t think any director would even dare to suggest to the parents that they pick them up earlier yet, because they would jump on him. We have three months of intense heat during the course and we live with it”.

From the federation of associations of parents of students Juan González, the majority in the autonomous community, Clara García Sáenz de Tejada recognizes the conciliation problems that the time reduction already implies. Given the lack of adaptation of many centers, which are still without air conditioning or without the possibility of plugging in the air conditioners due to the obsolete electrical installations of the centers, it is common for some schools to make recommendations “to walk around the house” to get out of trouble , like going to class with sprays to cool off by vaporizing water.

In Extremadura, reports the Board, 14.9% (130 educational centers) of the 890 schools and institutes have notified that they are going to make their schedules more flexible to be able to face the heat wave. Most of the schools are concentrated in the province of Badajoz, in the south of the region. Most of them are in the capital (17 centers), but they have also taken measures in five of Mérida.

Since the 2018-2019 academic year, the Extremaduran school calendar foresees that class hours will be limited if the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) and the National Plan for Prediction and Surveillance of Adverse Meteorological Phenomena define that a territory is experiencing certain meteorological circumstances at that time. exceptional. At the beginning of each academic year, the center’s school board – in which the entire educational community is represented – agrees on what measures will be taken if the area enters an orange or red alert. That the school day is reduced does not mean that the center closes. The students can continue and the services of dining room and school transport are maintained.

In Castilla-La Mancha in no case are teaching hours limited. When the heat wave begins, the Board sends the director of the center a letter from Civil Protection with recommendations for the population in general ―not to go out into the street between two and six in the afternoon, eat and drink frequently― so that they make it reach the rest of the educational community. “Each center, within its autonomy, adapts its day. For example, not to go out at 12:00 to Physical Education class on the courts”, explains the spokesman for the Ministry of Education. In the Valencian Community, this time freed from the wave, they also send a letter and informative posters to hang throughout the center; and in Madrid, much emphasis is placed on ventilating the classrooms well first thing in the morning to refresh the environment as much as possible.

José María Ruiz, a teacher at the Francisco Ruano school in Madrid, built in 1967, posted a photo on Twitter showing the temperature in his class at ten in the morning: 31.2 degrees and 24% humidity. Ruiz, who was responsible for public education in CC OO, maintains that a plan is needed in Madrid renew to improve the insulation of the centers and ventilation systems, plant more trees in the patios as in Andalusia or install awnings and fountains. Another English teacher in Madrid predicted that this Tuesday they will reach 37 degrees in the classroom at half past two in the afternoon.

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