A heat wave this week led Maine School Administrative District 75 to close three of its elementary schools in Topsham and Harpswell early Thursday afternoon.

Interim Superintendent Heidi O’Leary sent an email at 11:15 a.m. Thursday to parents alerting them of early dismissal for students at Williams-Cone Elementary, Woodside Elementary and Harpswell Community School because of excessive heat. Topsham had a high of 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Due to the excessive heat index and the fact that our buildings have not cooled as much as we had hoped, we have made the decision to implement an early release for the safety and comfort of our students and staff today,” O’Leary wrote. “The safety and well-being of our students and staff are our top priorities, and we believe that this early release is necessary to ensure their comfort during these challenging weather conditions. We understand that this may cause some inconvenience, and we appreciate your understanding and support in this matter.”

Woodside Elementary had early release at 11:55 a.m., Williams-Cone Elementary at 12:45 p.m. and Harpswell Community School at 12:15 p.m.

Bowdoinham parent Seth Berry said the closure of the three schools was “unprecedented” and a “real challenge for working parents.” He believes the schools could have stayed open like Bowdoinham Community School and said there were ways to beat the heat. Berry offered to drop off a sprinkler at the Bowdoinham elementary school, where his wife works, to help keep the students cool at recess.

O’Leary told parents that SAD 75 would continue to monitor weather conditions and make an informed decision about Friday’s attendance.

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