Boy sleeping in class

If you’re sitting in a hot classroom on a sweltering day, it’s hard to focus on learning. But five years ago, about half of Baltimore County’s public schools lacked air conditioning.

Stansbury: “If it’s 85 degrees outside, it’s currently, in some, especially the older buildings, every bit 100 degrees inside.”

That’s Gerald Stansbury of the Maryland NAACP. He says many of the schools that lacked air conditioning serve low-income and minority students, so his group worked to raise awareness of the problem.

Research shows that excessive heat makes it harder to learn. Hot weather can also exacerbate conditions such as asthma and allergies, both of which are growing more common.

Stansbury: “People tell me, all the time, ‘When I was a kid, we didn’t have air-conditioned schools.’ But we didn’t have as many problems with some of the health concerns and conditions that we have today as well.”

By the century's end, Baltimore may experience twice as many days over 90 degrees than 20 years ago. Click To Tweet

Baltimore County has worked to fix the problem. At the start of this school year, out of a 173 schools, just 13 still lacked A/C within four years, all will be air-conditioned.

That’s especially important because by the end of this century Baltimore may experience twice as many days over 90 degrees than 20 years ago.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

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