Author: Paul

California should be required to report extreme heat conditions, not just reported spikes

California should be required to report extreme heat conditions, not just reported spikes

Op-Ed: California makes it too hard for schools to shield kids from extreme heat

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(CN) – As temperatures and rising numbers of school closings show no signs of slowing, a group of school safety advocates is advocating the state start giving schools the same power to shield students from extreme temperatures as it does for students’ safety.

California already makes students and school staff aware of extreme heat by making parents and school employees and students wear the recommended level of heat protection.

The Department of Education grants schools the power to opt out of this requirement, but those districts are limited by only having to report extreme heat conditions when they actually occur. For example, a school can choose to opt out of the requirement without reporting that extreme heat temperatures are actually occurring during the school year.

But is it too extreme a measure to offer schools the power to simply say no, without reporting temperatures?

New research shows students at schools that made the choice to opt out reported significantly fewer heat related health issues and were able to exercise more effectively in hot weather. A school’s lack of reporting temperatures is linked to children’s lack of being able to properly escape hot weather.

“The state sets an extremely high standard that makes it extremely difficult for schools to report temperatures that are unsafe and thus allow them to claim extreme heat does not exist,” said Katie Leeper, executive director of StudentsFirst, a group that advocates for more student input in the education process. “They are being forced to choose between doing their jobs or their health.”

The new research also shows that in order to get the state to change its extreme heat reporting, the school should be required to report the temperatures that are actually happening, not just reported temperature spikes, a distinction the state never made.

The research focused on three middle school students from two California districts. Before they were in the heat of an extreme heat day, the researchers followed the three students and analyzed how their body temperature and hydration changed and whether any of them went to the hospital.

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