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SCHOOLS have begun to close for the summer as terms come to an end across the UK, with youngsters spending the first few days of their summer vacation in the midst of a record-breaking heat wave. What is the maximum temperature at which schools must be closed early?
Most British children are out of school for the summer, with many leaving under the Met Office’s first-ever excessive heat warning. Some students may stay in the classroom until the end of the week, so not everyone has departed yet. If the temperature rises above a predetermined level, they may be able to leave earlier.
Since last week, the current heatwave has surpassed temperature records for 2021, with temperatures reaching 32°C at least thrice.
As they wait for the conclusion of the school year, many students have had to endure the heat in a blazer, shirt, and shorts.
For some, the combination of uniform and heat may be unpleasant, but government guidelines provides some limited protection.
The UK’s workplace health regulator, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), advises on proper workplace and school conditions.
According to the HSE, there is no legal minimum or maximum temperature, but it is recommended that the temperature be at least 13 degrees Celsius.
Given the tremendous heat required in some contexts, such as foundries or glassworks, the authorities say they can’t produce a “useful figure” for top temperatures.
Workers and children, however, require temperatures that are at least “comfortable.”
Offices and classrooms must take steps to cool off overheated environments.
This could entail turning up the heat or installing air conditioning units in the workplace.
Teachers may also open windows or doors in the classroom to let a summer breeze in.
They might even let kids wear different uniforms or skip the blazer if necessary.
These measures were previously enshrined in a report by the National Union of Teachers (NUT).
The union stated that the maximum temperature for introducing them is 26 degrees Celsius.
Excessive heat, according to experts, can cause children to get weary and dehydrated, impairing their learning ability.
They have previously advised children to return home if temperatures exceed 30 degrees Celsius.
Unfortunately, eager children are unlikely to be granted an unscheduled day off.
While the union suggests that instructors consider closing “unacceptably hot” classrooms, it also suggests that rather than sending children home, they restart classes elsewhere.
The NUT recommends only sending children home if they can give parents “fair warning.”
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