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Details on BCPS’ heat-closure policy and spring break

thermometer heat stock purchasedA reader recently asked: “Do you know if the new BCPS heat-closure policy will affect both non-AC and schools with AC? One thing I read said that only non-AC schools would be affected but other places say it will affect schools in zones where there is no AC. Do you think it would be possible that kids that go to a non-AC school could lose their spring break while the kids that to AC schools get their full break? Anticipating having some sibling jealousy if that’s the case.”

This is a great question. There are probably a fair number of us who have a kid at a non-air-conditioned school and a kid at a school with AC. And of course, even if you don’t, all BCPS students will be affected by this.

In the past, when Baltimore County Public Schools closed because of heat, they closed all schools, even those that have AC. That is no longer the case.

The new policy says: “The Board directs the Superintendent to close all non-air-conditioned schools when the heat index is forecast to reach at least 90 degrees Fahrenheit any time during the following day.”

I asked BCPS to explain what would happen if spring break had to be shortened because of too many heat-closure days: Would only non-AC schools get a shorter break?

Michele Prumo, chief of staff for BCPS, told me: “If spring break is affected for school closings, the break will be affected for the system.”

BCPS can apply for a waiver so that it doesn’t need to make up all days lost to heat closures, but the waivers are not automatic.

“The school system must apply to the State for any waivers,” Prumo said. “However, the school system first needs to demonstrate that it adjusted its calendar as much as possible  to accommodate any lost time.”

So, no sibling jealousy, but a potentially shorter break for all students.

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5 Comments on "Details on BCPS’ heat-closure policy and spring break"

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For the Teachers

What happens to the teachers who work in air conditioned schools? Do they continue to work while non-air conditioned schools are dismissed and then ALSO work during a shortened spring break? That seems to go against contract.


that will probably be a factor as I am sure there will be teachers still working on the days off for heat in the non-ac schools

Hot Around the Collar
Hot Around the Collar

There is another issue here that needs to also be ironed out. How many days are non-AC students likely to miss overall? A ‘heat index’ of 90 degrees ‘anytime’ the next day could mean those students…at dozens of schools…could be kept home when the temp out is just in the mid-80s. How is that equity in terms of those students’ education if those days are waived? Also, how can two-working-parent households cover these days?? Glad that the schools are looking out for kids and teachers in hot classrooms, but this could total a couple of weeks or more a year! It’s all rather confusing…aren’t there better options here?


Yes, there is a better option! Portable AC units can and should be installed in these schools, and would be if not for our esteemed County Executive refusing to allow the expenditure. Contact his office with your concerns and hold him accountable.

Until that happens, I for one am happy that my child doesn’t have to be held captive in the deplorable conditions in her school during the heat.


They estimate a loss of 15 days, but that’s a bit low, imo, with school opening a FULL 2 weeks BEFORE labor day and staying open until June 19th we are sure to have more than that…