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About 35 Baltimore-area schools without air conditioning dismiss early amid June heat wave

Baltimore City and County public school systems dismissed students Monday from about 35 schools lacking air conditioning as temperatures climbed into the 90s for a third consecutive day.

About 30 city schools, which were listed on the school district website, sent students home around 10:30 a.m. to transition to virtual learning while staff also transitioned to teaching from home. Several of the schools had air conditioning systems that were not working properly, officials said in the announcement.

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Meal sites located at the city schools also were closed, with schools directed to make every effort to provide take-away lunches for students before they left buildings.

City schools announced Monday night that about 30 schools, also listed online, will also remain closed on Tuesday, when the high is expected to be 92 degrees.

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In neighboring Baltimore County, six public schools also closed three hours early Monday due to a lack of air conditioning. All afternoon and evening activities at those schools also were canceled.

The county school buildings have air conditioning systems, but experienced a variety of mechanical problems that prevented them from operating as they should. And two of the schools also closed because of power outages, said spokesman Charles Herndon in an email.

“We hope that everything always works perfectly and at optimum efficiency, of course, but sometimes we have issues that arise and we have to deal with them, and unfortunately we had a few of those today,” Herndon said in the email.

County school officials are addressing the issues and expect all schools to open Tuesday and operate normally, he said.

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Sweltering classrooms are a perennial problem in Baltimore, which has some of the state’s oldest school buildings. Some educators took to social media Monday morning to document the high temperatures in the classrooms at a time when students are expected to concentrate on final exams.

Baltimore City administrators typically make school closure announcements the evening before an inclement weather event. However, officials experienced logistical challenges that slowed the notification process, said spokeswoman Gwendolyn Chambers in an email Monday morning.

Chambers did not respond to questions about the nature of the logistical challenges.

“We apologize for any inconvenience and will provide greater advance notice moving forward,” she said in the email.

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