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Will schools without AC be closed for next week and a half?

If I’m reading policies and charts correctly, it looks like schools in Baltimore County that don’t have air conditioning (I’m looking at you, Dumbarton Middle, Pleasant Plains Elementary, and Dulaney High) could be closed the rest of this week and all of next.

BCPS’ new heat-closure policy says: “The Board directs the Superintendent to close all non-air-conditioned schools when the heat index [as published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] is forecast to reach at least 90° Fahrenheit any time during the following day.”

The heat index “is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature,” according to the NOAA.

Here’s the forecast for the next 10 days, per weather.com:

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 7.57.36 AM

And you can use the handy-dandy chart below, or this calculator, to determine the corresponding heat index:

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 7.58.58 AM

If the forecast holds, and of course that’s a big if, here’s what the heat index will be for the rest of this week and next:

Thursday: 97
Friday: 106
Monday: 100
Tuesday: 100
Wednesday: 98
Thursday: 93
Friday: 92

Let’s hope those waivers come through!

 

-Kristine Henry
-Kristine Henry
News tip? Story idea? We'd love to hear from you! info@towsonflyer.com

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7 Comments on "Will schools without AC be closed for next week and a half?"

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puzzled parent

I’d love to see some creative problem solving by the parties responsible for this situation. Instead they seem intent on acting like it’s completely ok for 34 of the schools in their district to possibly lose 2 weeks of school with no plan for how to mitigate the negative effects of that on student learning.

If they can cancel school for just non-air-conditioned schools why can’t they also keep just those schools open on various days to make up for lost instruction days. I’m thinking specifically of all the professional development whole and half days that dot the calendar. Maybe those should be regular days for the non-air-conditioned schools. I realize it would shift the burden of this situation onto the adults in the room, but that seems a better option than shifting it onto the children.

Cortney

I can not believe parents are upset that their children will be missing so much time off of school. My children’s health is more important than any amount of missed days from school. I am livid that schools weren’t closed today. These children are not learning in this heat. My son is sensitive to heat exhaulstion and I am sure many others are as well. Will BCPS be there to foot medical bills and care if any of these children end up sick? It is upsetting that these schools have things such as personal computers for each student and smart boards but no A.C. I would think a student would have a vetter success rate by learning from a chalk board in an A.c room than trying to concentrate on a smart board while they can not breathe.

Anon

That is a good point. From what I understand, ABC Schools/parent advocates had proposed that non-AC schools close when the heat index was projected to reach 90 degrees by 11 a.m. the next day. That was determined to be the threshold for the litany of unbearable days in the past. There was also a proposed early dismissal if that index reached 90 degrees by 2 p.m. the next day. But somehow that late time messed with bus schedules, since they had to be available for AC schools. So the recommended-parent-endorsed policy was changed at the last minute in a school-board vote to “anytime” the next day, without people realizing that mid-80s and 60-plus-percent humidity would hit that mark, thus closing schools for many many unexpected days.

Hopefully the board can revisit the time threshold issue to make this work. Either way it is not equitable! If the 2 p.m. time is retained, then ALL schools should close early. That would make the most sense.

Anon

P.s. And Yes! BCPS should spend some of that tech money–of which there are tens of millions annually being siphoned off school budgets–to at-the-very-least provide partial AC and portable units when needed so students can access AC in these 30-plus schools by the spring, since the Central AC plans/renovations will take time. Some partially air-conditioned schools are not on the closure list— as students can gather to do work in those cooled areas when the untenable seasonal Heat is on. What is the political hang-up with even some portable AC units? (Schools at the tail end of central AC plans could miss nearly 40 days (!) of school by the time central air starts blowing under the revised policy, according to predictions.)

There seems to be a note of hypocrisy here: BCPS and the county will landfill or ditch those costly leased laptops every four years…Lots of e-waste and toxic metals unfortunately also likely ending up in dumps overseas. Let alone costly projectors and other equipment that will likewise either be minimally recycled or discarded—so blackballing AC units alone makes no sense. Hoping for some common sense–and cooler options–all around!

Panicked Parent
Heat-closure policy: Where is the Equity?? Children in non-AC schools missing a week or more at the start of the school year…and likely much more….? Open Letter to the BCPS Board of Education Members and Superintendent: I realize that recent efforts to mitigate the heat situation in schools is very well intentioned. But the late changes to the recommended heat-closure policy approved in August is causing an untenable and clearly inequitable situation. This from another concerned parent: “Based on the current forecast, it looks like students in 34-37 schools without air-conditioning, after the first day of school today, will likely not be attending school for the next seven days [at the least] as heat indices of 90+ under the revised heat-closure policy would close schools until after Labor Day. ” And that does not even count likely temperatures in the following week, or the end of the school year, or future years at schools that will still be awaiting AC. Some of the upcoming high-heat days indeed raise health and other issues, especially this Friday, as temperatures inside schools can be worse. My child is in one of these schools, so I know of which I speak. But so many days off of school—when some of the temperatures predicted have been tolerated in the past without problems—is unacceptable. Either way, until a solution is found to the current situation, ALL schools should be off—or this is not equitable. And state-approved waivers of instructional days lost would only make the equity… Read more »
Dave T

We demanded the threshold be set at 90 (index), which means almost 15 days of heat dismissal on average… this is what we wanted, right???

http://towsonflyer.com/2016/01/11/heat-in-classrooms-and-ac-policy-to-be-discussed-tonight-at-bcps-meeting/

Astonished parent

Holy crap! That is a lot of missed school. Careful what you wish for….

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