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Just in Time - Skoufis, Eachus, NYSUT Pass Vote on Classroom Heat Cap

Skoufis and Eachus Join NYSUT and Monroe-Woodbury to Laud Passage

of Classroom Heat Cap Bill

Senator Skoufis and Assemblyman Eachus joined NYSUT President Melinda Person and representatives from the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District to laud the passage of S.3397A/A.9011A. This bill, which passed both the Senate and Assembly with bipartisan support, establishes a maximum temperature in school buildings and indoor facilities. While the state has long imposed a minimum temperature in school buildings, there had previously been no statutory limit on maximum temperatures, creating health and safety risks for students, faculty members, and school employees. This bill requires schools take affirmative steps to cool classrooms once they reach 82 degrees; if a room reaches 88 degrees, the space is deemed too hot to continue occupying.

“We have a responsibility to protect our children in and outside of the classroom, and that extends to maintaining a safe learning environment that’s conducive to learning,” said Senator Skoufis. “We fought hard on every level to pass this bill, and I am grateful to my legislative partners for their advocacy. 2023 was the hottest year on record, and 2024 is on track to be even hotter. I don’t want to look back in a decade and wish we’d done something sooner. The time is now, and I look forward to seeing this legislation signed into law.”

“As a teacher who worked directly in schools for 40 years, I have experienced teaching in a classroom that is beyond normal temperatures,” said Assemblymember Eachus. “It is without a doubt a health hazard for both the students and educators, and makes it impossible for any child to learn successfully. NYS already has temperature limits for animal shelters, so it was inconceivable to me that we did not already have it in place for our kids. I am beyond proud to be able to deliver on this impactful bill in my first session alongside Senator Skoufis and NYSUT, whose advocacy was indispensable in getting this done. Let’s move forward and protect the health and safety of students and educators throughout NYS.”

“When schools are too hot, students can’t learn, and teachers can’t teach,” said NYSUT President Person. “This bill will push those who have resisted change into action to start planning. There will be 15 months to figure this out. If there are costs, they are worth it. Our children are worth it, our students’ learning conditions are worth it, and our staff’s working conditions are worth it.”

A 2020 study released by the Nature Human Behavior journal found an increasingly adverse effect on standardized test scores for each day a classroom exceeded 80 degrees.. A 2023 Harvard University study also found absenteeism and disciplinary action significantly increased during school days with extreme heat.


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