Air Conditioning in Schools: A Necessity, Not a Luxury. As the temperatures rise and summer approaches, staying cool and comfortable becomes a top priority for everyone. Unfortunately, for students and teachers, this can be a challenging task, especially in areas with extreme temperatures. Madrid, for instance, is known for its scorching summers, and it’s not uncommon for classrooms to feel like ovens during in June and September (motiviating hot and sweaty students is no easy task).
Last June teachers stopped class several times a day to ensure that kids (and teachers) did not overheat. Not many schools in Madrid have AC (not even the expensive schools) and when temperature shoot up, this a frequent topic of conversation. One side in favour of installing AC units in all schools and the other side saying that ‘kids should toughen it’s only a few weeks’ etc. etc. Of course the cost implication is huge but if temperatures continue to rise as predicted, is it really only a few weeks? The planet is getting hotter and surely this problem will only exacerbate.
Today, 27th April, the temperature in Madrid will reach 30ºC (86ºF), and it’s only April. There is a saying in Spain ‘en abril aguas mil’ which roughly translates to ‘April brings the rains’ but unfortunately no sign of rain this April.
For now the temperatures are manageable but there are still two more months of school and nobody is sure about what to expect. There is an existing law in workplaces that does not allow the temperature in workplaces to exceed 27 degrees Celsius. But what about classrooms?
A few days The Regional Government of Madrid issued ‘recommendations’ to address this issue, some subjects to be taught outdoors in the shade when “temperatures are particularly high.” The supervisory committee will also review extracurricular activities to ensure that they are not carried out in the sun or in particularly hot areas.
But, as we all know, these recommendations can only go so far. AC is not even available in all private schools, not to mention public ones. This lack of air conditioning makes it almost impossible to keep the classrooms at a comfortable temperature, especially during the hottest months of the year.
The government plans to invest 1.5 million euros to install underfloor cooling systems in 31 public nursery schools for children aged zero to three, these centres remain open in July which in my opinion is the hottest month of the year in Madrid.
While these efforts are certainly a step in the right direction, more needs to be done to address this issue. The lack of AC in schools is not unique to Madrid, and it’s a problem that needs to be addressed globally. Students and teachers alike should be able to focus on learning, without having to worry about extreme temperatures and uncomfortable classrooms.
In many countries, including the United States, schools are equipped with air conditioning, but there are still cases where classrooms can become too hot. In some cases, schools may close early or provide students with fans and water bottles to keep them cool. However, this is not a sustainable solution, and more needs to be done to ensure that all students have access to a comfortable learning environment.
Some schools have also taken steps to address this issue by installing solar panels or other renewable energy sources to power their air conditioning systems. While this is a more sustainable solution, it can be expensive, and not all schools have the funding to make this type of investment.
Another solution is to hold classes during cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late afternoon. This can help to avoid the hottest part of the day, and ensure that students are able to learn in a comfortable environment.
In conclusion, hot classrooms are a real problem, and it’s one that needs to be addressed. While some efforts have been made to address this issue, more needs to be done to ensure that all students have access to a comfortable learning environment. Whether it’s through the installation of air conditioning, underfloor cooling system or by holding classes during cooler parts of the day, we need to ensure that our students have the best possible learning experience.
Do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like my assistance as you take your Steps Into Spain.
Sinéad Galvin is an experienced educational consultant with a passion for helping families navigate the Spanish education system. She is the founder of Steps into Spain, a boutique educational and relocation consultancy based in Madrid, which specializes in helping families find the right school for their child.
Drawing on her professional and personal experience of Spanish schools and the Spanish way of life, Sinéad provides expert guidance to parents, ensuring they are informed and empowered to make the best decision for their child’s education. At Steps into Spain, she takes a holistic approach to the relocation process, taking into account not only a family’s educational needs but also their housing, paperwork, and general settling-in requirements.
Sinéad’s central ethos is that a happy child is a happy parent. As such, Steps into Spain strives to make the transition to a new school and country as seamless as possible, helping families feel confident and settled in their new surroundings.