Schools Dismiss Early Amid Record-Breaking Heat

Dozens of schools across the state that lack air conditioning sent students home early Tuesday as temperatures reached record highs, and some will dismiss early again Wednesday.

The mercury climbed to 94 degrees in Bridgeport on Tuesday, breaking the Sept. 8 record of 90, which was set in 2010, and sliding into second place for the warmest September temperature on record.

The temperature reached 96 degrees in Windsor Locks, breaking the day's record of 95 in the Hartford area, which was set in 2007. Cooling centers have opened in Hartford as a result.

It's the first time the hottest day of the year has fallen in September, or outside of the meteorological summer, since 1983, according to First Alert Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan.

Students left Wolcott High School just after noon and a thermometer gun showed temperatures between 85 and 87 degrees inside the school. 

"We’ve been taking readings all day, starting at 8 o’clock this morning, and just throughout the day took more temps and obviously, they kept going up and up and up," said head custodian Russ Tardiff.

Four of the district's five schools have partial air conditioning and Supt. Joseph Macary said students were rotated around the school, into rooms that have air conditioning, including the library or media center. The schools also made sure students stayed hydrated and avoided extraneous outdoor activity.

Students at the Insurance and Finance Academy, at 275 Asylum Street in Hartford, had an unexpected early dismissal because of a problem with the air conditioner. Students were dismissed at 1:30 p.m. after something in the building's central air conditioning unit broke.

East Hartford schools remained open for the full day because many students do not have air conditioning at home and child care can be an issue, school officials said in a note sent to parents.

To make the heat more bearable, fans were turned on in classrooms, students were moved through air conditioned areas and were asked to bring water bottles.

While temperatures are expected to come down a bit on Wednesday, humidity levels will increase a bit, making the apparent temperature or heat index even higher.

Some schools will dismiss early Wednesday as well.

Check for the latest updates on school closings here.

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