The heat wave has hit the United Kingdom.
Temperatures have soared in Britain this week, with London setting a new UK 2018 temperature record on Monday, June 25, hitting 29.4C.
It’s expected the temperatures will cross the 30C mark this week as well, with parts of the South East going as high as 33C, which would make it warmer than parts of Brazil.
All of this means that offices and schools around the country will be fast ensuring that their air conditioners and fans are up to scratch to deal with such scorching temperatures, but can the heatwave become so intense as to force schools to close?
Here’s all you need to know about this, including what the guidelines are and what to do if your child ends up being sent home from school.
How hot does it have to be for schools to get cancelled in the United Kingdom?
Schools follow the same rules and guidelines as places of work. This means that, just as in offices, there’s no official law setting out minimum or maximum working temperature, or when it’s too cold or too hot to work.
However, there are official government guidelines suggesting that the minimum temperature for office workers should be 16C, although no recommendations have been issued for maximum temperatures.
The main rule surrounding workplace temperatures was set out in the Workplace (Health and Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which says that during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings should be reasonable.
The National Union of Teachers said that people work best at a temperature between 16C and 24C, before going on to say that people could faint, get dizziness and have heat cramps in extremely hot conditions.
The World Health Organisation says that 24C should be the highest temperature. If enough people complain after this limit, the company should carry out a risk assessment.
Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU, told a newspaper outlet that increased temperatures in schools impact the ability of students, educators and staff to focus and function effectively and can lead to exhaustion, tiredness and ill health.
He said that presently, there’s no legal maximum temperature for schools and colleges and this can lead to uncomfortable conditions during hot weather. The National Education Union advises its members that temperatures above 26C are too hot for effective teaching and learning.
However, back in the day come rain or sunshine, schools were never closed because of the weather.