With school in full swing, many schools are concerned about their inadequate air conditioning and how the heat may affect their students. Districts throughout the U.S. are constantly faced with this problem, and most end up closing the building due to safety concerns until the temperature has gone down. From kindergarteners to college students, research shows that heat can hinder the learning process. Here’s what you need to know about the importance of air conditioning in schools.
How Lack of Air Conditioning Affects Learning
When teachers and students are hot, they aren’t able to concentrate. When exposed to high temperatures, the brain focuses on how hot the body is, and not about the learning going on in the classroom. Spending time trying to achieve a comfortable body temperature consumes bodily resources and affects brain function, which reduces decision-making abilities in learning.
Studies show that as temperatures soar, children’s academic performance declines. In a hot classroom, headaches and heat-related physical issues can decrease alertness and interest, distract students and hinder academic performance. Also, warm indoor temperatures can make students sleepy.
Why is There No Air Conditioning in Schools?
There are a variety of reasons why classrooms suffer from a lack of cooling. Many schools have air conditioning units, but they aren’t functional. Many units are in need of maintenance, but the schools don’t have the funds to pay for it, while some do not have existing air conditioners at all. Budget constraints play a huge part in whether a school has a functional AC unit or not.
For example, while the Department of Energy’s 5-year capital plan has $50 million earmarked for wiring upgrades, funding is limited. Schools that are eligible for reduced or free lunches will get top priority for funding. Additionally, the funds can’t be used to purchase the actual air conditioning units themselves, which leaves cash-strapped schools with a choice: spend their operational budget on textbooks and teachers, or on new air conditioners. PTA fundraising often fills the gap, but many schools don’t have affluent PTA members. Some can afford to pay for wiring upgrades but not AC units, while others have appropriate wiring but can’t afford the units.
Should Air Conditioning in Schools Be Mandatory?
Even though research shows that keeping students at a comfortable temperature increases their ability to concentrate and learn, few school districts have mandated temperature minimums or maximums, and air conditioning is not a requirement. When temperatures rise, schools are forced to adapt. For example, in Maryland, Baltimore County schools have a policy when the heat index is expected to hit 90 degrees by mid-morning, that non-air conditioned schools will close. Closing school’s due to hot weather cuts down valuable class time.
For more information about purchasing a new air conditioning system for your schools, facilities or business, call the HVAC experts at R&D Mechanical Services today. We can help get your school’s AC unit up and running in no time!