Teachers and students are getting some relief as we ring in the new school year.
A new policy in Baltimore County requires non-air conditioned public schools to close when the heat index reaches 90 degrees.
The Baltimore County Public Schools Board of Education passed the policy Tuesday, which directs the superintendent to close the affected schools if the heat index is forecast to reach 90 degrees by 11 a.m. When possible, the closure should be announced by 8 p.m. the preceding night.
"To be able to finally say we can close just those schools that aren't air conditioned, and I know that we had to get to a certain number before the state was going to allow that, but we are really pleased that the state has now said yes, you can have the waivers for those schools, so that we can do what's right for the children and what's right for the staff," Abby Beytin, President of the Teacher's Association of Baltimore County, said.
If the heat index is forecast to reach 90 degrees by 2 p.m., the new policy directs the superintendent to close non-air conditioned schools two hours early.
The measure also allows students to carry water bottles at all times and gives principals flexibility to move students to cooler rooms.
The policy goes into effect Aug. 23.
Right now, 34 schools do not have air conditioning, out of the 173 in the county. The measure states all schools should have air conditioning by August of 2019.