In Basel there are calls for better insulation of school buildings or a postponement of the summer holidays. However, the authorities are dampening expectations.
The latest heatwave has pushed some school pupils and teachers to their limits, reported SRF. In Basel there are calls to better insulate buildings and adjust the timing of school holidays after afternoon temperatures recently reached 42 degrees in the city.
The Covid pandemic the highlighted poor ventilation in many schools in Switzerland. Some schools were found to have unhealthy levels of CO2, a sign pupils were not breathing enough fresh air, something that increases the spread of pathogens. The recent heatwave has shown how poor the insulation is in some schools.
The Basel Teachers’ Association described the conditions as unacceptable and questioned the efficacy of Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) suggestions such as moving lessons to the basement or the forest.
Philipp Loretz, the Association’s president, said that the authorities need to acknowledge that there is a problem and realise that structural measures are needed, such as improving the insulation of school buildings. There are big differences between schools and many are poorly insulated and ventilated, he said
The national teachers association has been calling for measures for a long time, pointing out that while many schools are well insulated and well ventilated it is not the case for all school buildings. At the same time the association acknowledges the huge costs for cantons and municipalities. This means fixing the problem will require political will to make it happen and it will need to be tackled in stages.
Another suggestion made by Sandra Bothe, an elected official in Basel, is to start school later. Bothe suggests starting school two weeks later to avoid the hottest period of the year. However, the idea has received push back from the authorities – school holiday planning is done several years in advance so postponing holidays would be complicated.
SRF article (in German)