Classes moved due to heat wave

Temperatures reach mid-90s at the end of October, many classes moved or canceled

Celina Tebor | Feature Editor | USD Vista

Usually when one thinks of fall, images of warm sweaters and trees changing colors come to mind. Most of the time this is not the case for those living in San Diego and this became apparent last week when temperatures soared, reaching from mid-90s to the 100s.


The National Weather Service issued an Excessive Heat Warning for Southern California from Sunday, Oct. 22 to Wednesday, Oct. 25. However, temperatures did not lower until the end of the week.


The university’s response to the heat warning was quick, sending out at least four emails to every USD student concerning the heat wave and advising students what to do during the heat wave. The emails gave a list of tips for students to stay cool, as well a list of on-campus buildings with air conditioning.


But the discretionary emails failed to mention one detail — classes in buildings without air conditioning like Camino Hall would be moved to other buildings or canceled.


First-year Maddie Braun had one of her classes move locations and two of them canceled completely.


“Choral Scholars was my class that got moved,” Braun said. “They moved it [from Camino] to the French Parlor in Founders because that’s just another room that has a piano and air conditioning.”


The east side of Camino Hall does not have air conditioning, and almost every classroom was moved to another location. However, Braun’s two canceled classes were not rescheduled.


“All my classes in the Music Department got canceled,” Braun said. “That was my Music Theory class on Tuesday, and then on Monday and Wednesday my piano class got canceled.”


Braun mentioned that last week was the first time Music Theory was canceled.


“During the first few weeks of school, our Music Theory teacher almost always ended class early because it was too hot to be in there for a full hour and a half,” Braun said. “So we had an hour-long or 45-minute lectures, and then we’d just leave because it was so hot in there.”


Professor Vivienne MacAdam of the English department had three of her classes moved from Camino Hall during the heat wave.


“One was moved to SOLES and two to the UC,” MacAdam said. “We were notified 24 hours in advance. [Faculty] are all aware that there are heat-day regulations in effect and what those entail.”


Despite the school sending out emails to all students and professors whose classes were moved, Braun noted that she did not get a notification from her canceled class, since her professor canceled the class and not the school itself.


On Friday, our [Music Theory] professor said it was probably going to be in the French Parlor and on Monday it was confirmed,” Braun said. “But for Music Theory, I got the email as I was walking to class that class was going to be five minutes long.”


Braun was happy with the move of her Music Theory class, but acknowledged that it was disruptive to the teaching and learning flow the class usually has.


“The way that the room is set up, the chairs had to be rearranged,” Braun said. “And if we wanted to face the piano, then we had to be really close together. So instead, we shifted and were sideways so it was harder to see the piano. It just took extra time.”


MacAdam did not believe that moving classes was disruptive to her teaching or her students’ learning, however.


“[Moving classes] was necessary and my students did not have any problems with the change,” MacAdam said. “They were automatically emailed by the university and in addition by me so there were no surprises.”


Although Braun and MacAdam had different experiences with moving classrooms, both agreed the move was necessary.


“[Moving classrooms] really was needed,” Braun said. “That classroom gets really hot even when it wasn’t during the heat wave because it has a lot of windows. And, I think when you’re singing, it builds body heat.”


MacAdam believed that the steps the university took to handle the heat wave were the right decisions to make.


“It’s a policy that works,” MacAdam said. “These heat waves are unusual in San Diego and public schools adopt a similar policy for the few times this situation occurs.”


While Braun said that moving classrooms was a smart idea, she wanted the school to be more proactive when announcing it to staff and students.


“I wish that we got more warning that it was something that was going to happen,” Braun said. “We got so many heat-wave emails, and none of them said ‘classes are going to be moved and canceled.’ You just found out when it happened to you.”


While the school managed to save students and professors from boiling classrooms during the week, its solution is a short-term one and Braun hoped that the school will adopt a long-term one in the future.


“I think the air conditioning in Camino really needs to be fixed, because it gets really hot in there,” Braun said.


As San Diego enters November, the thought of heat waves will most likely dissipate until the spring approaches and temperatures rise again.


As for last week, the school might have to consider the idea of air conditioning for the classrooms that cause professors to end class early as a result of the heat.