Baltimore City and Baltimore County public schools will close two hours early Wednesday because temperatures are expected to be above 90 degrees.
All after-school and night activities are canceled in both school systems. Baltimore City canceled all pre-K programs for the afternoon.
"The superintendent looked at what was predicted for today and decided to make the call early so that parents can make plans for child care," said Baltimore County school spokesman Mychael Dickerson. The forecast, he said, calls for the heat index to be between 87 and 90 degrees by 10 a.m. and between 92 and 98 degrees by 2 p.m.
Forty percent of the county's schools do not have air conditioning.
"Because these schools are in all geographical regions there are logistical challenges, such as transportation, that make it difficult to only close the impacted schools," Dickerson said. Buses would have to do their routes twice in order to pick up children from non-air-conditioned schools and then air-conditioned schools two hours later.
Superintendent Dallas Dance said in a school system that covers 700 square miles, the cost would be $40,000 a day and would be a major inconvenience to families with children in different schools.
"Currently it is cost prohibitive for us to do that," Dance said.
Parents and teachers have complained that temperatures in some classrooms can be well above the outside temperatures. Dickerson said there had been no complaints yet Wednesday.
The forecast calls for high temperatures to continue for the remainder of the week, however, Dickerson said no decision has been made about school schedules for the end of the week. "We will be definitely monitoring it," he said.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun