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Several schools across the region to close early this week due to heat wave

Vipal
/
Creative Commons

The high heat and humidity hitting central and northern New York this week has prompted school officials in several communities to dismiss students early. Temperatures across much of the region are expected to reach the mid-and upper 90s this week.

Along with high humidity, the heat index will likely reach 100 degrees or more. A heat advisory is in effect for the region until late Thursday. An Air Quality Alert is in effect for Wayne, Northern Cayuga, Oswego, and Jefferson counties until 11 p.m. Monday, and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday.

Health officials are encouraging central New Yorkers to stay safe and stay hydrated as temperatures rise. Stacy Fontana, an Onondaga County nurse practitioner, said staying prepared is the best way to avoid heat exhaustion.

“The preparation is the most important thing,” Fontana said. “So the preparing, always have a water bottle with you if you are going to be outside and obviously sunscreen is important as well.”

Knowing the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke can help save lives, Fontana said. Dizziness, excessive sweating, extreme thirst, and confusion can all be signs of a heat-related illness.

“Heat can actually be a cause of death, so it’s very important to notice the signs early and try to prepare for that and stay hydrated and stay out of the sun,” she said.

Those with pre-existing conditions, children, and elderly people are the most at risk.

County cooling centers and public beaches will also have expanded hours this week to help beat the heat. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said Monday it’s important to make adjustments that reflect the weather.

“We’re used to being out in the 70s and sunny and feels like 80, now we are going to be in situations where it's in going to be humid it’s going to be in the 90s and at times sunny as well, so you’re talking about a different intensity than we are used to,” McMahon said.

You can find a list of cooling centers around the region here. In addition, the Cecile and Magnarelli Community Centers in Syracuse will be open from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. this week if people need a place to cool down.

National Weather Service
/
Binghamton

The problem for many school districts around the region is that some of their buildings do not have air conditioning, meaning classrooms can become stifling.

"It's very difficult to learn in an environment where the temperatures are over 90 degrees and we can't cool all of our buildings," said Rob DiFlorio, chief of operations for the Syracuse City School District. "We only have approximately 13 buildings that have air conditioning and so the rest of the 20 buildings do not. So we can't cool the buildings at night so therefore we decided to do half days. We know that the heat will really peak around two to four clock so we're trying to get students home before that."

DiFlorio said the district will do its best to try and cool buildings down at night.

"Try to get those temperatures down as much as possible so when kids come in the next day, they can be a little bit cooler, but we know the next few days are going to be very difficult. It's going to be very hot," he said.

Syracuse and many school districts are adjusting their schedules to send students home early this week. The early dismissals only apply to elementary and middle school students, because high school students are taking state Regents exams this week, which cannot be rescheduled.

All students will be off on Wednesday, for the Juneteenth holiday.

  • Central Square elementary and middle school students will have a half day.
  • Dolgeville will dismiss students in Pre-K - Grade 6 at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
  • East Syracuse-Minoa will dismiss elementary and middle school students early on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (dismissal times not yet available).
  • Edmeston will dismiss students in Pre-K - Grade 6 at 12 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Fayetteville-Manlius will dismiss middle school students at 10:40 a.m., UPK students at 11 a.m., and elementary students at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Fulton City Schools will dismiss junior high students at 10:30 a.m. and elementary school students at 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
  • Hamilton will dismiss students in Pre-K - Grade 6 at 12 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday,
  • Hannibal will dismiss middle school students at 12:30 p.m., and elementary students at 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
  • The Ithaca City School District will send students in Pre-K – Grade 5 home at 12 p.m. Grades 6-8 will be dismissed at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Jamesville-DeWitt will dismiss middle school students at 10:30 a.m. and elementary students at 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • The Marcellus School District will have a half day for students in UPK - Grade 8 on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Mexico will dismiss middle school students at 10:45 a.m. and elementary students at 12 p.m. Tuesday.
  • New Hartford will dismiss all elementary students at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday (Friday is a scheduled early dismissal at 11:45).
  • The North Syracuse School District will dismiss middle school students at 11:30 a.m. and elementary students at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • The Oneida City School District will dismiss middle school students at 10:50 a.m. and elementary students at 12 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • The Rome City School District will dismiss elementary students at 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday,
  • The Syracuse City School District will dismiss elementary school students at 10 a.m., middle school students at 11 a.m. and students in Pre-K-8 schools at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
  • The Utica City School District will dismiss middle school students at 11 a.m. and elementary students at 12 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Waterville will dismiss elementary students at 11:10 a.m. Tuesday.
  • The Westhill School District will have a half day for elementary and middle school students on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Whitesboro will dismiss middle school students at 10:30 a.m., Westmoreland Road Elementary at 11:15 a.m., and Deerfield, Hart's Hill, and March elementary schools at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

This list will be updated as more schools announce their plans.

Jason has served as WRVO's news director in some capacity since August 2017. As news director, Jason produces hourly newscasts, and helps direct local news coverage and special programming. Before that, Jason hosted Morning Edition on WRVO from 2009-2019. Jason came to WRVO in January of 2008 as a producer/reporter. Before that, he spent two years as an anchor/reporter at WSYR Radio in Syracuse.
Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
Abigail is a temporary WRVO News Reporter/Producer working on regional and digital news stories. She graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2022 where she studied English and Public Relations. Abigail enjoys reading, writing, exploring CNY and spending time with family and friends. Abigail first joined the WRVO team as a student reporter in June 2022.