East Hartford

East Hartford Public Schools Announce Early Dismissal For First Week of School Amid Heat Wave

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The high heat index is impacting school districts during the first week of school.

Long lines of cars were lined up outside O'Connell Elementary School following the second day of school for East Hartford students.

This year looks a lot different and on top of the all new changes, students are returning to the classroom in the middle of a heat wave.

"It was kind of hot but I'm happy that we have an AC in our classroom, " said Reyna Rivera, a fourth grader at the elementary school. "It's hard sometimes to learn when it's hot and we have to wear our masks."

NBC Connecticut spoke with Ashely Harbill who mentions that she ensures her daughter is prepared for the heat every day before she heads off to school.

Giana Caamano, a third grader at O'Connell tells NBC Connecticut she kept her water bottle close during the second day of school.

"I'm OCD. So she's got two water bottles in her backpack, they do have stations for them to fill their water bottle and they're encouraging them to fill the water bottle," said Harbill.

In response to the hot weather, the school district announced that all K-12 students would be released early due to the humidity.

"Being in school this time of the year or in June, it's going to be hot and so we try our best to ensure students are staying safe," said Nathan Quesnel, superintendent for East Hartford Public Schools. "We try to move kids to chilled areas throughout the school day, make sure kids are drinking water and it's also a great opportunity to keep an eye on kids and ensure they're hydrated and feel okay."

Some students and parents said they believe the early release was necessary.

Selena Pascal, a student at O'Connell Elementary school tells NBC Connecticut she loves her water bottle and tries to drink as much water as she can during the school day.

"I thought it was a good idea, and also for the students who were remote and weren't in school last year to return and get back in the feel of how school is in-person," said Alicia Martinez.

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