BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City schools will reopen Monday following the unprecedented decision to close after classrooms were left with no heat as temperatures plummeted.
Crews raced against the clock and cold inside Baltimore City schools this weekend after subfreezing temperatures and aging buildings led to unsettling images of children bundled up in their coats inside classrooms.
The cold conditions sparked a national outcry, but perhaps the most outrage came from parents.
“The water is cold!” said one mother, Chastity Spears, who spoke with WJZ. “It’s unbearable. There’s icicles in the classroom. The cold water jug is frozen solid. It’s inhumane for these children.”
Broken heaters forced schools to shut down Thursday and Friday. A team of city and private repair crews spent all weekend trying to fix the extensive damage.
“Never before have 60 schools went offline at the same time,” said Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh. “Sixty schools is a lot, but we have a responsibility to make sure our children get to school and that they’re in a safe environment. So of the 60 schools, most of them are online.”
Baltimore City Schools tweeted Sunday that the list of schools without heat has been chopped down to one: Calverton Elementary/Middle School.
A command center is monitoring conditions in the city’s schools, and with the temperatures starting to climb, the system-wide shiver may be over — for now.
“Baltimore City is not the only jurisdiction that’s having problems, but we are the poorest jurisdiction, and we have the oldest buildings,” Baltimore City Schools Chief Operations Officer J. Keith Scroggins said. Unfortunately, it’s almost like the perfect storm.”
The mayor says some of the buildings are just too old and they are working on a plan to decide which school buildings should be shut down for good.
Pugh is expected to hold a press conference at city hall on Monday at 10 a.m.