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'Rolling With The Punches': Burncoat Middle School In Worcester Releases Students Early Monday Due To Heat

WORCESTER (CBS) - Some schools are releasing students early because of the excessive heat. It's not the temperature outside, but inside the schools that has officials worried.

With the sun already glaring down on Burncoat Middle School in Worcester on Monday morning, doors opened to students just before 7 a.m. for what schools are calling "an abbreviated schedule".

"We've gotten used to being a well-oiled machine. We've gone through multiple changes through the year, so we're just rolling with the punches," said Mary Scully, Principal of Burncoat Middle School.

Worcester Public Schools announced that students would go home three hours early, both Monday and Tuesday because of the heat.

"We have an older building, so we're one of those buildings without any air conditioning throughout the buildings. So, we've adjusted our schedules so students will get shortened class periods, but they'll get to all their regular classes," said Scully.

The school district cited concerns over hot classrooms with COVID protocols still in place, like having to wear masks and not being allowed to use water fountains.

"We've got water bottles distributed throughout the building, which regularly, we have them available in the cafeterias. But this week, we'll have them spread out through the building, so even students who have gone through their own, there will be pretty here in the building for them." said the principal.

The temperatures soaring left parents adjusting schedules across Massachusetts with several school districts taking similar steps, including early dismissals. From Wellesley to Winchester to Wilmington, schools districts say classrooms could easily reach or exceed 100 degrees in the afternoon hours.

"When I was a kid, I'm sure they would have kicked us off in school and said, 'Tough luck,' but maybe that's not always the way," said one parent. "The way things always have been, maybe not always the way they should be."

In addition to water supplied by each school, Worcester Public Schools urged parents to send their kids to school with extra water to hydrate in the heat.


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