KEEP & IMPROVE HEAT CLOSURE POLICY 6303

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A year and a half ago parents in Baltimore County sat in sweltering classrooms for back to school night and got to see first hand what the classrooms their children and school staff have to function in. The heat index in the classrooms without AC in some cases were over 100 degrees. 

They came together and asked the Board of Education to pass a heat closure policy that would protect the health and safety of children. The Board passed this policy and it successfuly closed schools for four days this past fall based on objective criteria.

Here is a link to the policy that Baltimore County Board of Education passed. 
https://www.bcps.org/system/policies_rules/policies/6000Series/POL6303.pdf

At February 12, 2017 Policy Review Committee meeting, Administration was proposing to amend Policy 6303 to phase it out as more schools became air-conditioned. Suddenly at March 13, 2017 PRC meeting administration proposed to delete policy without public comment through regular three meeting “reader” process.

The Administration claims that this policy limits the Superintendant. It does. It limits the Superintendant from being irresponsible. It applies to one objective condition in which the Superintendant has failed to set objective criteria so that parents can be assured of their child's safety. The heat closure policy if deleted will produce the following outcome for 37 schools in Baltimore County without AC and an untold number with partial AC or broken AC.

1. There will be no objective criteria mandating that schools close if the temperature reaches a certain point. Schools will not close if temps reach 90 degree heat index prior to 11am.

2. If the heat index is forecast to reach 90 by 3pm it will no longer be considered an excused absence for parents to voluntarily keep thier children home.

3. There will not be a mandate that the Board add inclement weather days for heat to the school calendar to accomodate closures

4. This policy establishes the right of students to carry water bottles at all times (something that was being restricted before) Deleting this policy removes that right.

5. This policy gives principals the ability to relocate children from hotter parts of the school to cooler parts of the school.

6. If the superintendant decides to close schools it will happen randomly and parents won't find out the night before.

We need to protect this policy that we all worked on for a year an a half to get and improve. There is no reason to delete this policy when 37 schools are still without air conditioning and Dr Dance refuses to submit information to the Board as to how many have partial or broken AC.

Repealing this policy puts students and staff at risk for their own health and safety in classrooms that are over 120 degree heat index on rare days the policy now forces them to close. They will remain open on the hottest days of the school year.



 



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