Why Australian schools need a national policy on coping with heatwaves

Many parts of Australia have been experiencing a long-running heatwave, with temperatures soaring above 40 degrees in some areas. So what impact is this having on schools? And is it time for the government to roll out a national policy on heat protection?

Research shows that extreme heat can result in physical (cardiovascular and thermoregulation), cognitive (acquiring and retaining information) and emotional difficulties (motivation and negative feelings towards set tasks). And let’s not forget ruined school lunches!

Currently, the main policy in place to protect students from outdoor weather extremes is the Cancer Council’s SunSmart program.

The SunSmart program has had a successful foundation policy for school staff and students to ensure enough shade is provided and to wear sun-protective clothing, a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses for all outdoor activities when UV radiation is at level 3 or higher.

But there is no consistent educative policy across Australian schools for heat protection.

Many schools have site-specific or varying state guidelines. There is, however, little school policy relating to school activities during specific heat conditions (according to a set temperature and humidity).

Sometimes only a water fountain will do. Dan Peled/AAP

Originally Published by The Conversation, to continue reading click here.