Home » Resolutions » AMEND AN ADDITION TO PROCEDURE 205.1 OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BRANCH WEATHER RELATED CANCELLATION, DELAY, OR EARLY DISMISSAL POLICY TO INCLUDE EXTREME HOT WEATHER/HEAT WHEN THE HUMIDEX IS OVER 35°C

AMEND AN ADDITION TO PROCEDURE 205.1 OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BRANCH WEATHER RELATED CANCELLATION, DELAY, OR EARLY DISMISSAL POLICY TO INCLUDE EXTREME HOT WEATHER/HEAT WHEN THE HUMIDEX IS OVER 35°C

Resolution Number: 2024-2
Submitted by: Ellerslie Elementary Home and School Association

WHEREAS    climate change shows us that warmer and hotter temperatures begin earlier in the spring and can last well into the fall school year. These temperatures can create unsafe indoor temperatures for PEI students and staff especially when the humidex reaches 35°C or above and there are no cooling systems in the schools, and

WHEREAS    extreme heat can pose health related injury to the most vulnerable populations which includes children, pregnant women, those with pre-existing health conditions as well as, behavioural diagnosis. (Morgan, 2023), and

WHEREAS     climate significantly affects more vulnerable populations than others. One of the key factors is the capacity to adapt. Social determinants of health are also exacerbated by heat which affects health outcomes when fewer resources are available to certain populations. (The Health Costs of Climate Change), and

WHEREAS    “educators say students can be unmotivated and distracted when sitting in a hot classroom and research shows that cognitive function declines during excessive heat, leading to slower reaction times” and the data also shows more instances of aggressive behaviour and violence when it’s hot. (Will, 2022), and

WHEREAS    protective measures need to be evaluated and put in place for students and staff for extreme heat the same way we do for cold or stormy weather and we need to ensure we are protecting everyone while they are in PEI school buildings, and

WHEREAS    Education Week says “public health experts warn that children are more susceptible to heat illnesses than adults and heat-related illnesses can include muscle cramps, heat exhaustion—which may come with nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and fever—and heat stroke, which in extreme cases can lead to seizures or even death” (Will, 2022), and

WHEREAS    a fan is not an acceptable solution for PEI classrooms, and

WHEREAS    “Poor air quality can severely impact the performance and health of all individuals” (SIRC, 2023), and

WHEREAS    the burden of heat related stress puts more pressure on the already strained health care system on PEI, and

WHEREAS    individual factors that influence heat vulnerability “include income, age, medications, personal behaviour, type of housing, fitness level, health status, acclimatization, and access to cool places” (Government of Canada, 2020);

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the PEI Home and School Federation request the Prince Edward Island Public Schools Branch, Board of Trustees, Minister of Education and Early Years, Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action, and Minister of Health and Wellness work collaboratively to amend the PSB procedure 205.1 to include heat related closures, cancellations or delays when the humidex reaches 35°C.

 

REFERENCES

Government of Canada., (2020, December 16). Adapting to Extreme Heat Events: Guidelines for Assessing Health Vulnerability. Retrieved January 17, 2024, from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/environmental-workplace-health/reports-publications/climate-change-health/adapting-extreme-heat-events-guidelines-assessing-health-vulnerability-health-canada-2011.html

MacDonald, D. (2021, June 17). Teachers’ Federation supports school closures in extreme heat. The Eastern Graphic. https://www.peicanada.com/eastern_graphic/teachers-federation-supports-school-closures-in-extreme-heat/article_4ff1575e-cddf-11eb-9118-93b909b44df3.html

Morgan, R. (2023, September 8). With extreme heat, schools struggle to provide students with optimal learning environment. The Eastern Graphic. https://thepointer.com/article/2023-09-08/with-extreme-heat-schools-struggle-to-provide-students-with-optimal-learning-environment#:~:text=With%20extreme%20heat%2C%20schools%20struggle,optimal%20learning%20environment%20%7C%20The%20Pointer

SIRC (2023). Air pollution & sport safety. Sport Information Resource Center. Retrieved January 30, 2024, from https://sirc.ca/air-quality-and-sport/

THE HEALTH COSTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE. The Canadian Climate Institute. https://climateinstitute.ca/reports/the-health-costs-of-climate-change/

Will, M. (2022, September 26). The School Year Is Getting Hotter. How Does Heat Affect Student Learning and Well-Being? Education Week. Retrieved January 17, 2024, from https://www.edweek.org/leadership/the-school-year-is-getting-hotter-how-does-heat-affect-student-learning-and-well-being/2022/09

Destination:Department of Education and Lifelong Learning
Department of Environment, Labour and Justice
Department of Health and Wellness
Public Schools Branch


None