Springfield Public Schools shifts to early dismissal with extreme heat

Extreme weather, causing schools in Springfield and other cities to make last-minute changes.
Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 6:40 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - “The school, it doesn’t even have the A.C. on sometimes. Cause’ sometimes the A.C. is kind of like wonky,” said one student.

“It’s too hot. I think is better to get out early. Especially for the kids that have to walk home,” said another student.

Temperatures in the 90s and a looming chance for Mass. to feel the first heat wave of the summer.

Extreme weather, causing schools in Springfield and other cities to make last-minute changes.

“To protect the health and safety of those staff and students who are in the buildings without AC, an early dismissal was called,” said Azell Cavaan.

Azell Cavann, the Chief Communications Officer for Springfield Public Schools tells Western Mass News that keeping parents informed of last-moment changes, like early dismissal due to weather, is at the top of the school’s priority list.

“It’s always on a day-by-day basis. This is unusual because it was called for today and tomorrow, based on the weather forecast. We always like to give parents as much notice as we can. I think that’s another misconception that’s out there. That we have information, that we know we’re going to cancel or close early, and we keep it to ourselves until a certain time. But the truth of the matter is as soon as the decision is made, we begin communicating that decision through all the media channels that we have.”

Cavaan tells us that other efforts are in place to keep kids and staff safe from the heat.

Starting with teachers opening windows in each classroom for ventilation and lowering the blinds for shade.

But multiple of our viewers are not so sure.

Parents and teachers, who wished to remain anonymous, reached out to our newsroom and said that classrooms don’t have proper ventilation and that some teachers are even having students lay on the floor to find some comfort from the heat.

We asked cavaan for a response about these concerns brought to us.

“Every school is different. In fact, every classroom is different. so, surely, it’s not ideal. Even if every school keeps its blinds down, every school has fans, and every school has every single mitigating factor that you can have to address the heat, it’s still not ideal. I don’t know if that is or is not happening. but certainly, again, it’s on a case-by-case basis.I really couldn’t speak to that without looking into it more.