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Too hot for learning: heat wave led to many central NY schools scheduling half-days

We’re used to snow days, as young kids we hope for them, but closing school because of the heat? That’s something I never expected to see.

 Last Friday, the Syracuse City District and Central Square School District, according to Syracuse.com, announced that Tuesday and Thursday will be half-days for Elementary and middle schools. Wednesday is Juneteenth and was already scheduled as a day off. High school students are taking the Regents exams this week and will follow the usual schedule for the end of the academic year. School districts affected by this change in schedule include East Syracuse Minoa, Fayetteville-Manlius, Jamesville-DeWitt, Marcellus, and Westhill.

According to Syracuse.com, most school districts will finish classes early next week. This break in the middle is just a taste, for students and teachers, of the freedom to come.

The National Weather Service has predicted, as they told Syracuse.com, that upstate New York will see temperatures in the triple digits several days this week. To make matters worse, the heat index is expected to be even higher than the actual temperature.

A “heat index”, as the National Weather Service explains, measures how temperature and humidity affect the human body. Essentially, the relationship between the two factors can make it feel hotter or cooler than the actual forecasted temperature. For upstate New York, it’ll be the former this week. The combination of heat and humidity scheduled by the weather service has forecasted a heat index of up to 104 degrees during the upcoming heat wave.

According to a new heat risk index developed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Weather Service, such conditions could result in “extreme” health impacts. There are four levels to this new heat index, and “extreme” is the most serious one.

Considering how big, and hot, school buildings often are, the decisions made by upstate New York to give students a couple of half-days are not shocking. It must be weird though, barely any class for three days then a few more full days before summer vacation. Hang in there students and teachers, it’s almost done.

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