By Rick Ritter

CARNEY, Md. (WJZ) — Summer is showing no sign of ending. We’ve already seen more 90 degree days in September than all of August. Because of the heat and humidity, Baltimore County closes school early.

Rick Ritter with more on the decision.

Parents say it’s a problem that started last week, with kids complaining about the heat inside classrooms. Roughly 52 schools across the county are without air conditioning.

With the sun beaming, windows open and no air conditioning, Teri Chason is one Carney Elementary parent who’s beyond aggravated.

“It’s not safe for the kids,” Chason said. “The kids come home, they’re nearly sick.”

The Baltimore County school is one of 52 without air conditioning.

With temperatures topping 90 degrees Tuesday, the district let students out two hours early.

“They said it was too hot. I definitely agree with them,” said one student.

Unbearable conditions inside some buildings, a flashback for some.

“I grew up in the ’80s. I never had air in school, and I remember how miserable that was. So I think we can be understanding,” said one parent.

One Baltimore County teacher used black paper to cover the windows since her school is without AC.

“I’m dropping her off and going home to AC. So there’s a part of me that feels guilty. My kids don’t really complain about it, though,” said Paula Peters.

Seneca Frazier works as a paramedic. With two kids at Carney Elementary, she worries about them getting overheated.

“Children will try and compensate so much because they figure they’re having fun,” said Frazier.

Some teachers tell WJZ they’ve been buying cases of water and handing out bottles to children throughout the day, trying to keep them cool, but say they’re still sending plenty of students to the nurse’s office with heat related issues.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz released a statement, saying: “We recognize how unbearable the heat has been this past week. That is exactly why I funded a $1.3 billion, ten year, Schools for Our Future program. In the past five years, we have reduced the number of schools without air conditioning from 52% to 20%. At the conclusion of our program, 97% of all of our schools will be air conditioned, including every single elementary and middle school. We are working hard to quickly resolve a problem that I inherited, but within our fiscal constraints.”

Kevin Smith is with Baltimore County Public Schools.

Ritter: “For parents out there who feel ten years isn’t soon enough, what’s your message to them?”

Smith: “We understand those concerns. Not many years ago, that number was much larger. We’re doing everything we can.”

Some parents are still searching for a quicker resolution.

“Ten years? That doesn’t help us now. And that’s really what the problem is. I’m glad progress is going forward, it really is, but it’s not helping the situation at the moment,” said Chason.

When asked why students weren’t let out early last week, the district says it’s a day by day decision, and Tuesday was different than last week.

WJZ reached out to Baltimore City about the heat. Officials say they’re monitoring conditions inside their schools very closely.

Baltimore County canceled after-school and evening activities for students in addition to the early dismissal.

Rick Ritter

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