Teacher Federation Raises Alarm on Dangerously Hot Classrooms

With hot and humid conditions persisting into September, some experts are advising teachers and other school staff members to be keenly aware of heat-related illnesses.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) recently took to Twitter to share an infographic on how overheated classrooms can make teachers, staff and students sick.

The weather forecast suggests that many schools will be seriously overheated this week. Overheated classrooms can make workers and students sick,” Jerry DeQuetteville, deputy general secretary, ETFO, wrote on Twitter.

According to the ETFO, many Ontario classrooms are not air conditioned.

This means that high humidity and temperature levels can interfere with working, learning, and health,” the website reads, adding that staff and students with pre-existing health conditions such as asthma and heart problems are more vulnerable to symptoms of heat stress.

Pregnant women are also more likely to suffer adverse effects from extreme heat.

So, what can staff and students in Oakville, Burlington, Milton, Halton Hills and surrounding cities do to cope with extreme heat?

The ETFO asks those affected to report health and safety concerns about heat and humidity to the school principal.

Put your concern in writing. Request that these concerns be investigated and dealt with,” the website reads.

School board actions in response could include for example: use of electric fans; scheduled access to cooler learning spaces; resetting ventilation system for greater efficiency; and the maintenance, service, and repair of air handling units in classrooms.”

Staff and students can also prevent heat-related sickness by drinking lots of water during the day and seeking out cooler spots when possible.

Excess physical exertion is to be avoided.

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