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Jasey & McKnight Bill to Ensure Schools Have Temperature-Controlled Classrooms to Maximize Student Learning Approved by Assembly

(TRENTON) – With winter quickly approaching, Assemblywomen Mila Jasey and Angela McKnight are sponsoring legislation to ensure schools have temperature-controlled classrooms that are conducive to learning. The bill was voted out of the Assembly Monday, 75-2.

Studies performed throughout the United States have yielded findings that maintaining a properly temperature controlled environment enhances attitude along with memory and cognitive abilities. This may be maintained not only through functional air conditioning and heating systems but other methods such as rearranging classrooms, planting trees near windows, scheduling, etc.

“Multiple studies have shown a link between classroom environment and academic performance,” said Jasey (D-Essex/Morris). “This is not just about comfort; it’s about making sure that we provide students with the best classroom environment so they can properly focus and learn.”

“Focusing can be difficult if you are uncomfortable,” said McKnight (D-Hudson). “It might not seem like a big deal to some, but being too cold or too hot can have a negative impact on learning. These guidelines can help schools provide better classroom environments to enhance student learning.”

The bill (A-665) would require each board of education to adopt a policy establishing temperature control standards and guidelines for school district facilities.

The policy must ensure, to the greatest extent feasible, that school buildings provide students with a temperature-controlled environment that is conducive to learning. The policy must:

• require that a staff member is designated in each school building in the district to monitor compliance with the standards and initiate permitted corrective action;
• establish a protocol to follow in instances where classroom temperatures are identified as being not conducive to learning;
• identify what temperature control measures are permitted in accordance with local building and fire codes;
• be informed by the Indoor Air Quality Standard established by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development; and
• require that corrective measures be addressed, where feasible, by action outlined in the Indoor Air Quality Standard.

The bill would direct the Department of Education and the Department of Health to jointly develop guidance to assist school districts in establishing and implementing a policy concerning temperature control.

The measure was approved by the Assembly Education Committee on March 12, which is vice-chaired by Jasey, and now goes to the Senate for further consideration.