The rare October heat wave that is breaking hundreds of records across the eastern half of the U.S. should not only be concerning for anyone concerned about climate change, but it should also be concerning to parents whose children have to sweat their way through school.
Many schools in Ohio closed Tuesday and Wednesday because of extremely high temperatures, most notably schools in Columbus. Only one-third of Columbus school buildings have air conditioning, and many buildings are older, which means they take longer to cool down. School did not resume until Thursday when temperatures were in the normal range for this time of year.
While elementary and high schools are taking off, college students are still sweating their way to and through class.
While most buildings on campus have air conditioning, Ohio University can fairly compete with Columbus city schools in one way — old buildings. Students know if they have a class in Bentley Hall, which was built in 1923, they can expect sweltering classroom temperatures in a crowded lecture hall. Gordy Hall may hold fewer students per room, but temperatures still soar – possibly because the building was constructed in 1912.
An “easy fix” to excessive heat in buildings seems to always be the incorporation of fans, but it has been proven that fans make the potential for overheating worse. An article by Scientific American compared a fan blowing hot air to a convection oven because the already warm air from the fan heats people up instead of cooling them down. Intolerable conditions could lead many to skip class, or if the professor is reasonable, they will cancel class before that can occur.
For those still forced to attend classes, those 10 minutes that it supposedly takes to make it from one end of campus to another can feel like an eternity. Exhaustion quickly sets in — even more from heat and sweating. Once you’ve had to change into a new pair of clothes for the third time that day, exhaustion quickly turns into annoyance.
Not only is the heat annoying, but it’s dangerous. Besides just the more well-known effects of a heat wave like heat exhaustion and heat stroke, the body can be affected in different ways. When body temperature increases rapidly, the central nervous system and circulatory system are impacted. When heat exposure is prolonged, other issues like kidney problems may occur. This can be dangerous for students who are on the run from class to class all day with hardly any breaks in between.
If the university can close for extremely cold temperatures like it did last school year, it seems reasonable that it could close for extreme heat. All it takes is a decision from the president and provost, then students can enjoy a day off inside where they should be when conditions outside get dangerous.
Charlotte Caldwell is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Charlotte? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.