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West Michigan school districts taking half-days due to heat

Caledonia, Jenison, Hudsonville will be releasing students early because of the heat.
Credit: AP Photo/LM Otero
Wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID19, an elementary school student wipes with hand sanitizer before entering school for classes in Godley, Texas, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. Three rural school districts in Johnson County were among the first in Texas to head back to school for in-person classes for students.

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — Three West Michigan school districts started the school year with half-days because of the heat and humidity. Temperatures are about 10 degrees above average for this time of year.  

Hudsonville Public Schools started classes on Monday, Aug. 24. The district said Monday through Thursday would be half-days and there would be no school on Friday, Aug. 28.  

HPS said not all buildings have air conditioning and temperatures may be too warm for students while wearing masks. 

Secondary buildings will dismiss at 11:15 a.m. and elementary buildings will dismiss at 12:15 p.m.

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Jension Public Schools students return to school on Tuesday, Aug. 25. The district said Tuesday and Wednesday would be half-days for students. 

"These temperatures and level of humidity, along with the body heat of staff and students, will heat up our classrooms making teaching and learning in the afternoon hours very problematic," Jenison Superintendent Tom TenBrink said in a letter to parents "The wearing of face masks in these conditions will be challenging. Additionally, we want to reasonably limit the blowing of fans in our classrooms."

TenBrink said the half-days were not originally planned, but starting the school year in the unconventional way allows students and staff to acclimate to the new safety provisions. 

Secondary students will be dismissed at 11:00 a.m. and elementary students will be dismissed at 11:50 a.m.

Caledonia Community Schools will have half-days Wednesday and Thursday due to the heat as well. The district said YMCA after school programming will be held at DLMS.

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