Holyoke schools dismissed early due to extreme heat

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Summer doesn’t officially start until Thursday, but we’re tracking record high temperatures Monday in western Massachusetts.

Holyoke Public Schools dismissed their students at 11:45 a.m., ahead of expected high heat and humidity. Holyoke was the only western Massachusetts school district to have an early dismissal.

Teachers supported the decision.

“I just planned lighter activities,” said Mary DiCarlo, a third-grade teacher at McMahon Elementary School. “There’s no way I could teach anything heavier than that like academics with math spelling grammar, I would lose their interest, which I usually do when it this hot.”

On Sunday Holyoke Public Schools announced a three-hour early release due to high temperatures expected.

Temperatures Monday almost reached close to 95 degrees and combined with the humidity, it could feel like 100 degrees.

The principal of the school said about a quarter of the student body didn’t come to school for the half day. Principal Noreen Ewick told 22News seven out of the 19 classrooms at their school don’t have air conditioning. None of the hallways have AC.

“Right now we have classrooms that are exceptionally warm, we also have a lot of students with medical issues so we need to plan for those as well,” said Ewick.

Ewick said students are encouraged to bring water bottles to stay hydrated for the rest of the school year. 

Many schools in western Massachusetts are not equipped with air conditioning units, and hot temperatures and high humidity can cause heat illnesses.

The CDC is urging people to drink plenty of fluids and take extra precautions if you’re spending time outside in these conditions.

Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are two heat illnesses to be on alert for.

Signs and symptoms include dizziness, nausea and passing out.

The Holyoke Public Schools website also says that several spray parks in the city will also be open from 11 a.m. Monday morning until 7 p.m. Monday evening for children to stay cool. 

In Springfield Mayor Sarno has also opened the city’s splash pads two weeks earlier, in anticipation of the heat advisory for Monday.

Click here to find a list of school closings and dismissals. 

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