MAINE, USA — Schools in some parts of Maine are deciding to end their days a little earlier than normal as temperatures up into the 90s and high humidity sweep across the state this week.
MSAD 75 Interim Superintendent Heidi O'Leary announced Thursday and again Friday that several elementary schools in the district would be releasing students early in the day to help keep students and staff safe while temperatures in buildings remain high amid an elevated heat index.
MSAD 75 includes towns Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Harpswell, and Topsham.
O'Leary said some of the classrooms hit 85 degrees, and students had ice packs on their necks to keep cool. To keep everyone safe, she made the decision to close early both days at those three elementary schools.
"It's really hard to learn when you walk into the classroom, and the kids have their heads down on their desk," O'Leary said, noting that other schools within the district have air conditioning in at least parts of their building.
"I had a group text going with all of my administrators and kept checking in saying, 'What do you think? What do you think?' We had to make plans for lunches, we had to make plans for transportation, we had to get notices out to parents and area childcare centers as quickly as possible," O'Leary said Friday.
Schools in the North Berwick area worked to mitigate the heat too, calling for an early release for all students on Friday.
"Due to the fact that some buildings are experiencing a buildup of heat from the past few days and haven’t been able to fully cool down, school hours will be modified for Friday," RSU 60 Superintendent of Schools Audra Beauvais said in a community message Thursday.
The district said they planned to operate on a regular half-day schedule with middle school and high school students being dismissed at 11:15 a.m. and elementary students at 12:30 p.m.
RSU 60 includes the towns of Berwick, North Berwick, and Lebanon.