Extreme Heat and Schools
The Connecticut Department of Public Health sometimes receives calls about heat waves during the school season. It is important to know that there are no laws or public health codes regarding excessive heat in school buildings resulting from elevated outdoor temperatures. In addition, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will not take calls regarding residences, office environments, or schools where the only heat source is from weather conditions, like a heat wave.
There are no specific recommendations for when to close a school during excessive heat. This decision is made at the local school district level. In the past, some school officials have chosen to shorten the school day to limit exposure to extreme heat.
Here are ways to help students and staff beat the heat:
- Allow frequent breaks for drinks. Don't wait to get thirsty to drink. Drink fluids low in sugar as drinks with a lot of sugar make you lose more body fluid.
- Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. If you know hot weather is coming your way, recommend ahead of time to parents that they dress their children appropriately.
- Limit outdoor activity. Try to keep children indoors and somewhere cool in extreme heat.
- Turn off unnecessary electronics. Electronic equipment can give off heat.
- Consider using opaque, heat-absorbing curtains for windows.