The Bone-Chilling Truth About Our Classrooms

Students are forced to bundle up during class as a result of cold temperatures.

By: Courtney McDonald | Student Life Editor & Lexi Kortman | Writer

October 11, 2018

It’s always sunny in Philadelphia — and Southern Orange County. This begs the question: why does the San Clemente High School staff feel the need to keep their classrooms at hypothermia-inducing temperatures?

For a town which claims the title of “Best Climate in The World,” the classrooms at SCHS are unnecessarily cold. “I literally bring a jacket to school” said freshman Joshua McDonald, “just to wear it in my English class because it’s so cold.” With weather that hardly ever veers away from the mid-70’s, many aim to dress appropriately. However, classrooms possess a climate of their own, and require completely different outerwear. Wearing sandals to school on a day with an 82° high? Have fun losing all feeling in your toes as they fall off from frostbite in first period.

A few factors pose as variables in these chilly situations. Seating charts can make everyone shiver, both metaphorically and literally. While few may simply not enjoy the presence of those they sit around, others may be placed next to the direct source of such low temperatures: the air conditioning unit. Many teachers claim that they have absolutely no control over the thermostat, and maintain the idea that they are simply pressing buttons which will have no actual consequences.

“Last year, in Mrs. Cisca’s class, she used to always ask students to turn the thermostat up or down,” said senior Cory Sugano. “Then, at the end of the year, she admitted to us that it actually didn’t do anything and we were pressing buttons for fun.”

Another part that plays a role is the time of day. Some of the school’s air conditioning units take quite a while to warm up. That being said, the classrooms with those units would ultimately be less cold in the morning, as they have had less time to turn on and get working. So if your classroom seems to be freezing, consider whether or not it is your first period or fourth period. That might solve everything.

Swaddled in their coats, students dab in chilly zero period.

A third factor is that teachers keep their room cold on purpose to keep themselves cool. “I prefer my room cold,” said Mrs. Dimperio, “and that’s because I’m up and moving around. Kids will come in and say that it’s freezing, while meanwhile I’m sweating.” Another teacher motive for keeping classrooms cold is to make students stay awake and alert; however, this might have an adverse effect.

“When I’m hot, I’m not distracted by the fact that it’s hot,” says Lily Lewis, senior. “But when I’m cold, I get distracted by the fact that it’s cold. Then I can’t focus or get any work done.” Trying to get students to focus doesn’t really do anything for the students when all they can focus on is how cold they are. Students might be awake, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be aware of anything going on around them besides the goosebumps on their arms and their own shivering.

After creating an Instagram poll asking students if they find it easier or harder to work when it’s cold in their classroom, the results showed that 62% of students find it easier to work at warmer temperatures, while 38% prefer it cold, thus proving that students prefer it warmer and that they’ll ultimately be happier when their classrooms aren’t oversized freezers.

A study conducted at Westview High School in Portland, Oregon found that students perform best when the temperature of their classroom remains around 72º. As the temperatures of classes were kept at 61º or 81º, students in the study began to receive lower test scores. “Lower test scores, decrease in memory ability, lack of energy and losing focus are just a few symptoms of too hot or too cold temperature conditions in the classroom,” the study explains.

Our learning environment is being inhibited by the bone-chilling district thermostat settings. So what’s to be done? What will stop the oppressive district overlords? A protest? A walkout? A petition? A district-wide unenrollment? Perhaps one day. For now, though, it looks like we’re going to have to keep bringing blankets to class. Oh, and we started a petition. Sign here.

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