City schools close early because of hot weather


Baltimore school officials sent students home 2 1/2 hours early yesterday, in accordance with a policy that requires schools to shut down if temperatures reach 90 degrees by 11 a.m.

School officials said that shortly after 11 a.m., the National Weather Service reported that the temperature downtown had reached 92 degrees.

"If it's 92 on the outside, some of those old buildings get to be 100 degrees" inside, school system spokeswoman Edie House said.

"And most of our schools don't have air conditioning. It's difficult for our kids to concentrate when they're thinking about being hot. And many of them have health conditions that get worse when it gets this hot," such as asthma, she said.

Out of 184 city schools, 80 have some form of air-conditioning, House said.

The National Weather Service Web site reported that the temperature at Baltimore-Washington International Airport was 81 degrees at 11 a.m. yesterday. However, the site has not reported a temperature reading at its downtown site - the Inner Harbor's Maryland Science Center - since May 6.

House said her office called the weather service and spoke with a meteorologist before making the decision to close schools about 11:45 a.m.

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