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To AC Or Not To AC: CB’s Temperature Troubles

As I write this, all the conversations around me are drowned out by the hum of room 407’s portable air conditioning unit, running at full blast to account for the broken AC in this part of the school. It may be better than a stifling hot classroom, but at what cost? By now, most of […]

As I write this, all the conversations around me are drowned out by the hum of room 407’s portable air conditioning unit, running at full blast to account for the broken AC in this part of the school. It may be better than a stifling hot classroom, but at what cost?

By now, most of us have had to find out the hard way that the air conditioning in some rooms at CB has been broken since the start of the year, just in time for one of the worst heat waves in Sacramento history. Naturally, this has had a major impact on students’ day-to-day lives. Between having to endure sweltering hot classrooms and moving from room to room so as not to be stuck without AC, it seems as if no one has been able to escape the complications this issue poses.

“There’s just something about heat that’s inhospitable,” explains Andrew Arias (‘25), “I kind of just have to sit there and suffer.” 

Students have plenty of complaints about their hot classrooms. Alex Liu (‘25) laments “my brain is like a fried egg right now… I feel like a Death Valley piece of sand,” while Dylan Soltani (‘25) confides that “I was contemplating going home because it was so hot”. 

But the heat is causing more than just physical discomfort — many of us have experienced blows to our academic performance as well. Weather Cretu (‘25) stresses how “it gets really hard to focus in my religion class… it’s just so hot in there.” With the AC in his room broken, Mr. James Wykes explains, “it’s been a challenge to facilitate retention of information and really engage [students].”

Of course, the school has been working to fix this problem, as outlined in an email to CB parents: “In rooms where we have not yet been able to make repairs, we have… added temporary AC units”. While the loud, bulky portable air conditioning units described may help to prevent students from overheating, this solution is anything but perfect. Although they may “look wonderful,” in the words of Chloe Tam (‘25), they pose some unique challenges for teachers and students alike. 

“They’re really loud and annoying,” observes Andrew. Dylan describes how “it’s distracting [to] students, and they’re not going to be able to concentrate… and they’re not going to be able to focus on their work.”

“It presents an extra layer of noise that I have to work with,” Mr. Wykes explains. “It’s hard for [students] to hear, so I have to talk a little harder, so it changes how I have to approach things”. 

While our CB students and staff have been able to adapt to these conditions, they certainly aren’t optimal. Sure, it’s great not to, in Andrew’s words, “feel like you’re in a sauna” during class, but a comfortable temperature can only do so much when you’re unable to focus due to the ear-splitting drone of a temporary AC unit. 

Though this situation is less than ideal, it’s not all bad. While the air conditioning in some rooms is nonexistent (or might as well be), in others it’s working better than ever.

“I don’t know what they put in that math AC, but I get too cold at times,” Dylan emphatically details. “I love the math hall. I wish we lived in the math hall.”

Alex likens stepping into the band room to “walking into one of those Costco freezer areas.”

To some extent, some of the ways we’ve adapted to combat the discomfort and uncertainty that come with the unbearable heat have been largely positive.

“It’s made me embrace a more hands-off attitude,” Mr. Wykes describes. “We’re all in this together, so it’s given me an opportunity to just let go,and to trust in whatever comes next and also have a little compassion for everybody because it feels like we’re all in the same boat.”

So while the uncertainty as to whether or not we’ll have to spend a class period sweating profusely or shivering in that impeccable STEAM wing AC has been a challenge, maybe it didn’t blow quite as much as we may have thought.

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