Preparedness

Too Hot for School

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has issued excessive heat watches in eastern Massachusetts for Tuesday and Wednesday, when heat index values may reach 105 degrees.

by Mike LaBella, The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass. / August 28, 2018

(TNS) - With the potential of record-breaking heat on Tuesday and Wednesday, Haverhill will be releasing students early each day.

Lawrence released students early on Monday, and will also have early release days Tuesday through Thursday. Preschool classes in Lawrence are canceled this week, according to the district's website.

Methuen schools open on Tuesday with no planned schedule changes due to the heat.

Andover begins classes on Wednesday with no planned changes to its schedule, although Superintendent Sheldon Berman said he is keeping an eye on the weather forecasts in the event he decides to make a change to the schedule.

Opening day in North Andover is Tuesday, Sept. 4.

For Tuesday and Wednesday, Haverhill High School students will be dismissed at 10:30 a.m. Consentino and Hunking middle schools in Haverhill will close at 11:05 a.m. due to the heat. Elementary school students will be dismissed at 11:35 a.m.

Thursday will be a full day of school in Haverhill, while Friday is an early release day.

According to Haverhill School Superintendent Margaret Marotta, early release days count as full days of school, and do not extend the school year.

She said having early release days to start off the school year is not an ideal situation, but neither is having students trying to learn in sweltering classrooms.

"Given the circumstances we have, it's the best option," she said.

Teachers will be working full days on Wednesday and Thursday, and after students leave they will be planning and will be taking part in some professional development.

"If schools become too hot, we have alternative places from them to go and work on planning, prep time, and professional development," Marotta said. "There's plenty to do these first two days of school."

According to the Haverhill Public School website, if you have a kindergarten student scheduled for a screening appointment on these days, your appointment will still occur at the scheduled time and place.

YMCA programs will operate in Haverhill's schools as planned, immediately following the close of the school day.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has issued excessive heat watches in eastern Massachusetts for Tuesday and Wednesday, when heat index values may reach 105 degrees.

The Haverhill Citizens Center will be open as a cooling center from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, according to recreation director Vincent Ouellette.

"We will be setting up water cannons around noontime at Riverside Park and Cashman Field, as kids are having early release days," Ouellette said. "The spray park at Swasey Field will be open from 10 a.m to 8 p.m., each day through the Labor Day weekend."

The Plug Pond Recreation Area and beach is closed for the season.

"Lifeguards have returned to school," Ouellette said.

According to the National Weather Service, Tuesday and Wednesday will be the hottest days with possibly record-breaking heat by day and at night. By day, temperatures will climb up into the 90s away from the south coast. Expect high humidity.

Low temperatures Tuesday night and Wednesday night will only fall back into the 70s. The unseasonable heat could linger into Thursday, when scattered thunderstorms may produce gusty winds and heavy rainfall.

Relief from the heat arrives Friday when temperatures return to more seasonable levels, according to the National Weather Service.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends staying indoors if possible or scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned places.

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