Last week, the Baltimore County Board of Education voted to get rid of a policy that prompted the closure of non-air conditioned schools, when the heat index was forecasted to reach 90 degrees before noon. The heat closure policy had led to the closings of over 36 county schools, during the 2016-17 school year.
Along with schools being closed, sporting and other scheduled events were canceled. The 12-member board voted on March 21 to abolish the policy on a 7-5 vote.
One board member said the policy forced the superintendent’s hand and it was probably a bad policy from the very beginning. Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools S. Dallas Dance will still have the authority to delay, dismiss or close schools due to extreme heat and in other emergency situations.
According to board member Ann Miller, Dance had failed to close schools on hot days, when they should have been closed. Miller opposed abolishing the policy.
The Baltimore school system is currently amid a renovation project that will install air conditioning systems in all but 13 county schools by this fall.
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