By the end of the day on Wednesday, students in Ralph Saint-Louis’s class at Lowell High School had had it. One put her head down, complaining of a migraine. Another asked for water, grateful for the mini-fridge that Saint-Louis, a science and ESL teacher, keeps stocked for moments like this.
As the temperature outside rose into the low 90s, classroom temperatures soared nearly as high. In Saint-Louis’s room, a standalone air conditioner he had raised money to buy himself was set to 61 degrees and still managed only to keep the temperature in the high 70s.
Window units may take the edge off the heat, but they don’t come close to solving the problem, climate advocates say.
Kyle Murray, Massachusetts program director at the clean energy advocacy group Acadia Center, called them “a piecemeal approach” that “is bad for the environment and incredibly wasteful, both from a climate perspective and an energy burden perspective.”
“Schools are in an incredibly difficult position as they have very limited budgets and have to make remarkably tough calls on priorities,” said Murray, of Acadia Center.
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