A heat wave across the East Coast on Wednesday forced the closure of Mount Greylock High because the high humidity caused moisture problems. There are chances of severe T-storms in the region through tomorrow as a cold wave pushes through New England.
UPDATE: Mount Greylock High has canceled classes for Thursday, Sept. 12, because of continuing humidity problems. After-school athletic practices will run as scheduled but there will be no early practices.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A sudden change in the weather and a longstanding problem with the building led Mount Greylock Regional High School to close early on Wednesday.
Students were dismissed and staff sent home at 12:45 after high heat and humidity created a severe moisture problem on the floors at the Cold Spring Road School, which was built in 1961.
"We have front corridors that are very wet with humidity," said Superintendent Rose Ellis, whose office is in the high school. "It's like an ice skating rink.
"We wanted to safeguard any students or staff from falling."
All after-school events were canceled at the school.
Ellis said parents were notified Wednesday morning that the students might be dismissed early, and the school will be in touch with families between now and Thursday morning about whether it will reopen.
Ellis said the school's custodial staff "will go into overdrive," working to address the problem.
The school experienced humidity problems during the summer, Ellis said, and the district purchased dehumidifiers and fans and installed air-conditioning wherever possible.
But at the end of the day, the only thing that is going to address the problem — like many in the building — is either a major renovation or a new building. The district repeatedly has attempted to get into the Massachusetts School Building Authority's program, and last year a visit from MSBA offiicals gave local officials hope that an attempt in the near future could be successful.
"It's the rain, it's the heat, it's the building itself," Ellis said. "This building has problems with moisture, and it was compounded by [Wednesday's] extreme humidity.
"I don't think any other schools had to close early today because of the humidity."
Superintendent Rose Ellis' message to parents this afternoon:
Dear Mount Greylock Families,
Thank you all for your patience and support with today’s emergency early dismissal.
After a summer of heavy rains, extremely high levels of humidity have compounded the moisture problems in our aging building. Slippery floors made movement through the hallways and in classes precarious. Our administrative team and custodial staff are doing everything they can to address the problem.
Although we anticipate more moderate temperatures on Thursday, September 12th, high humidity is expected to continue with the addition of rain. Therefore Mount Greylock will be closed tomorrow, September 12th, for students and staff.
Please note, only afterschool athletic practices and contests will run as scheduled. There will be no early practices.