No child is particularly excited to return to school after winter break. However, it's a big deal when the concern about returning to school stems from the functionality, or lack thereof, of the school building. Despite a water main break and freezing temperatures, Baltimore City Schools assured that everything was good to go for students and faculty to return yesterday.
UPDATE: School buildings were monitored for heat & water issues throughout the holiday break. At this time, all schools EXCEPT Woodhome EMS & the Elem/Middle Alternative Program are expected to open on time on Tues., Jan 2. Any changes will be posted here as early as possible.— Baltimore Schools (@BaltCitySchools) January 2, 2018
It became utterly clear that this wasn't the case as teachers found that indoor temperatures were barely above freezing. According to the Baltimore Brew, teachers were rightfully upset.
“It was miserable.The kids had their coats, hats and gloves on all day,” said Jesse Schneiderman, a social, studies teacher at Frederick Douglass High School.
There was flooding in the basement of the building ruining not only the classroom but many materials.
“A teacher in our basement, because her room is under the flooded classroom, lost all of her materials,” he said. “Other teachers had to teach in the library because their classrooms were too cold.”
It's no surprise that social media was flooded with outraged postings by teachers and students showing kids huddled in coats and low readings on thermometers from many more schools.
“The highest it got here was 40 degrees,” said Jeffrey San Filippo, a seventh and eighth-grade history teacher. “From 7 a.m. until 2:40 pm when school dismissed, it never warmed up.”
We had heat in the morning but it quickly went to blowing cold air. We are not in Baltimore but are in a well-respected one about 30 miles away. We stayed all day as well. It sucks all around and NO child should have to endure this at school. (Name covered to protect kiddo.) pic.twitter.com/1yJD4CH4Q5— Melissa Bickley (@TeachOrSwim) January 3, 2018
Most students left or asked their parents to pick them up, however, for those who stayed, concentrating in the cold like that was almost impossible.
“With all the challenges we face throughout the day,” a teacher named Jim Ritter said, “assuring that we have a reasonable climate in the building should not be one of them.”
Baltimore City School spokeswoman Edie House-Foster said school officials are doing their best with aging facilities.
“We have some of the oldest buildings in the state of Maryland,” House-Foster said. “Trying to maintain heat with the extreme temperatures and wind chills we’ve been having is extremely difficult.”
“Our facilities teams have been working feverishly to address the problems,” she said.
Problems that very clearly should have been addressed before children came back to school.