Baltimore County Public Schools will be closed on Monday, Aug. 29, delaying the start of the new school year due to what officials called, "the continuing effects of Hurricane Irene."

By Sunday afternoon, 65 BCPS schools were without power, and safety concerns prompted school officials to close schools on what would have been the first day of the 2011-12 school year for students.

"The passage of this storm had a widespread impact on our area, leaving many homes and schools without power, flooding many roadways, and creating conditions that would pose a hazard for many children," said Joe Hairston, superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools.

"Safety is our first priority, and we must make sure that our schools are fully operational and ready to welcome children," he said.


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School officials met Sunday to assess conditions across Baltimore County and at the system's 173 schools, centers, and programs.

In addition to those schools without power, several schools sustained minor flooding and structural damage; there was no significant damage reported by any schools, officials said.

Earlier in the day, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz had said there were a "fair number" of schools without power, and said he and Hairston had been in contact about the school district's plans. At that time, Kamenetz was unsure whether the county would decide to close individual schools or delay the first day of classes countywide — though Kamenetz initially thought it might have been feasible to not close schools that had power.

With the decision made to close countywide for Monday, Hairston and other officials will continue to monitor recovery efforts before making a determination when schools can reopen, officials said.

Sunday afternoon, Hairston sent an automated telephone notification to families of all 105,000 county students to inform them of the decision to close schools Monday.

"This was a major storm, and it has disrupted the lives and schedules of many of us throughout Baltimore County," said Hairston. "We will work with BGE and with all essential county personnel to open schools as soon as possible, and we look forward to seeing students focused and ready to learn on the first day back."