Record-Setting California Heatwave Disrupts School Activities


Tyler Kim

Students walking or biking home from school often had the sun directly on their faces, and temperatures regularly exceeded one hundred degrees throughout the school day, according to CNN. In the future, there are many actions students can take to reduce the frequency of heat waves and stay cool. Taking initiative by voting for climate policies and ensuring that one is hydrated are two easy steps for students, according to science teacher Leanne Lupone.

Cancellations and rescheduling of school activities both came into play as one of California’s hottest heat waves impacted Irvine residents from Aug. 30 to Sept. 10, according to ABC. Temperatures climbed into the hundreds as a direct result of global warming, according to CNN. 

The extreme heat led to wildfires in both Fremont and Riverside, intense winds and the nearest hurricane to Southern California in 25 years, according to CNN. Power outages were also prevalent, with Southern California Edison sending daily reminders to California residents urging them to limit electricity use during peak hours. 

The student-athlete community was particularly affected; cross-country shifted their practice schedules to ensure the safety of athletes, according to cross-country member and junior Ethan Chan.

“The weather was insanely hot, and I don’t think they are allowed to make us run in 100-degree weather,” Chan said. “As a result, our coaches switched over to morning practices. A lot of kids struggle to show up on time because it’s so early, me included, but everyone’s tired, and not everyone’s fully awake.”

Graphic: Heat Wave Characteristics in the United States from 1961-2021 published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Performing arts groups on campus similarly saw a compulsory restructuring of their plans; one example was the cancellation of a theater picnic planned in tandem with other high schools across Irvine as a countywide bonding event on Sept. 1.

“We are looking forward to rescheduling it so that more people are able to go, especially since the weather would not be as hot,” theater student and sophomore Golsa Khamsehnia said. “The heat wave really takes away my energy, so it makes me more tired, and I can’t put as much effort into my acting or other things I do regarding theater.”

Extreme heat waves are projected to become more common in coming years if no further action is taken to protect the environment, according to USA Today. 

“We have clearly seen an increase in energy consumption at a school level and at a local level,” science teacher Leanne Lupone said. “People are struggling to not only pay the bills but, you know, just be comfortable in the heat if we don’t have enough energy to provide.”

Students can take action in small ways to mitigate rising temperatures by turning off lights when not in use, conserving water, supporting sustainable businesses or voting for legislation that protects the environment, according to Lupone.