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Baltimore City School District pledge to open and warm schools

Posted at 11:20 PM, Jan 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-08 18:05:55-05

Governor Larry Hogan is stepping in with $2.5 million from an emergency account to help fix the heat in Baltimore City Schools.

Students were sent home three hours early Monday ahead of the anticipated freezing rain.

RELATED: State announces emergency funding to heat Baltimore schools

Still, concerns are out there for parents about warmth inside the classrooms. All last week, the school district was slammed with heating issues.

The temperatures knocked 85 schools on or offline in the last five days with a peak of 60 buildings down at once because of the cold, unprecedented weather mixed with an aging infrastructure. The issue has pushed city leaders into an ‘all hands on deck’ mentality to make both schools including classrooms safe for students.

“I don’t have time to sit around and figure out who’s in charge. I’m pulling all agencies, whoever wants to help. The private sector has jumped in,” Mayor Catherine Pugh said.

It’s a rush to fix and warm up schools around the city – the blistering, chilly temperatures crippling and exposing the school system.

“Our emergency contractors will work 24/7 with the school system. As I said to Dr. Santelises, ‘tell us what you need and we’re there to help,’” Pugh said.

The mayor, CEO of Baltimore City Schools and other school leaders toured three of the facilities in the worst conditions.

“Where there might be cold classroom spaces, principals are working to accommodate those young people in warm spaces so they will not be sitting in the cold,” CEO Dr. Santelises said.

Parents are stepping in and taking matters into their own hands until issues are fixed.

“With me, because I work from home, it’s a little easier than the parents that are out there working. So I’m able to jump, grab the little ones, and get them,” Betty Clark, a parent, said.

While her kids weren’t in the coldest classrooms, she pulled her kids out anyway.

“Last Tuesday, part of the school had heat and part of the school didn’t. So I just took all of mine,” Clark said.

A drop everything mentality she and other parents have had to have in the last week. And a sudden change in schedule that forces the mayor to take action.

“Any time a school closes, a rec center or facility of public will be opened up and food will be provided,” Mayor Pugh said.

There’s now a new policy in place where when there is a school closure, the nearest rec center will open starting at 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.