EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The East Hartford Public Schools system is starting the academic year with half days due to the hot weather this week.
East Hartford schools will have early dismissal on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
From a rain-soaked start of the week to heat and more heat. It’s turning the library into a cooling center and it’s sending kids home early from school.
Nia Evens of East Hartford High School said, “We’re all back in together, so it’s going to feel more normal.”
All classes will be in-person this year. There was summer orientation, junior and senior boot camps, and a leadership program. And now, finally, students are heading back into classrooms in East Hartford. And it is welcomed after a year of on-and-off remote learning.
“Doing all my work on the computers,” Evens said. “I like writing on paper, so it was different for me to get used to technology.”
Students at East Hartford High say they’re looking forward to connecting with friends and educators face-to-face. They say it will, without a doubt, produce better results.
“People will join clubs and sports because last year online you couldn’t do sports online,” said Vanessa Quealy, a 10th-grade student at East Hartford High.
“Last year, 65 percent of the kids were here,” said East Hartford High School Principal Matt Ryan. “Thirty-five percent were at home. Now they’re all back here.”
But they’ll be easing back into the school year since the district had to pivot to half days this Wednesday through Friday due to extreme heat.
“It’s kind of smart so people aren’t complaining about how hot it was. And I think having half days in the first week makes it easier,” Quealy said.
Across the river in the Capital City, library branches have been converted into cooling centers amid a heat wave as temps soar to the 90s.
Meanwhile, masks and three-feet of social distancing will still be required inside classrooms. They’re optional outdoors. Students and staff alike say it’s worth it to be back together.
Principal Ryan said, “One of the major reasons kids are successful is the relationships they build with their teachers. It’s really hard to do through a screen.”
The Hartford fire department is also chipping in to help. They’ll be driving around handing out water to people who need it.