Heating + Water Issues Closing Older Elementary Schools During Cold Weather

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Baltimore, MD -- Four schools in Baltimore, MD were closed because of heating or water issues so far this year.

The city school spokesperson, Edie House-Foster said, "Over the winter break, facilities staff monitored schools to check on heating systems, plumbing, and electricity.  Numerous problems were identified and resolved.  Unfortunately, with the extreme temperatures, new problems can emerge quickly." 

Parents, students, and teachers have been posting about the terrible conditions.  Classroom thermometers are showing 30 degree rooms.  Some classes are taking place in the cafeteria because it is too cold in the classrooms.

The Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen declared a "code blue," which states that the the temperatures are dangerously low.

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"We have many schools with leaky windows and outdated heating systems that have a hard time keeping up.  With extreme temperatures, we have the added challenge of freezing pipes and water main breaks," said Wen.

According to healthyschools.org, temperature has a significant impact on student learning.  According to a study completed by the organization, the ideal classroom temperature is 72 degrees.  When a school is too hot, it reduces test scores by 22%.  When it is too cold, it reduces test scores by 17%.

Students are also negatively impacted by allergies.  When schools properly maintain the HVAC, they have found that test scores increase 17.3%.  Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) impacts allergies.  By having a strong IAQ management plan, allergy symptoms will be reduced and improve attention spans.