A heat wave has caused many schools in north-central CT to close early

Bolton, Hebron and Vernon were among cities across the state that released students early this week after an unusual September heat wave hit the state.

Bolton and Vernon schools joined other counties across the state in having early payouts Thursday and Friday, while Hebron saw early payouts from Wednesday to Friday. Some areas, such as Coventry, Manchester and Toland, have remained open all day throughout the school week thanks to efficient HVAC systems and other mitigation strategies.

Vernon’s superintendent, Joseph McCary, said the district rotated students through air-conditioned sections of the school’s buildings to keep them comfortable, but the buildings had become too humid and hot by the end of the week.

“The heat indexes were over 90, which was a problem,” Macari said. “The buildings aren’t cool enough overnight, so it’s very hot inside the classrooms.”

The heat index is a representation of how hot feels, and is calculated using both temperature and humidity.

“The health and safety of students and staff is our top priority,” McCurry said.

Hebron Public Schools posted an announcement on the district’s website on Friday that high heat and “oppressive” humidity made it difficult to cool classrooms in the morning due to residual heat inside walls and exterior surfaces.

“Classrooms remain about 5 degrees warmer than outside temperatures and heat up quickly once students arrive,” Hebron school officials said.

The Hebron District said it will continue to work with the city to address heating and cooling challenges in its two schools with long-term solutions coming in the future.

McCurry said the Vernon school district has rarely seen heat issues serious enough to cause early expulsion, even less so in September.

“I think we did it once, maybe three or four years ago, but that was in June,” Macari said.

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