LAWRENCE (CBS) – Lawrence is among several communities that are dismissing students early from school for the extreme heat, leaving parents scrambling to find child care.

“I don’t think they should be getting up early for three hours of school. Either make it a full day, fix the AC units or don’t have them come in at all,” said parent Celine Ramirez.

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School districts with early dismissals this week include:

  • Lawrence: Monday through Thursday. Preschool will be closed all week.
  • Lowell: Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • Medford: Tuesday.
  • Haverhill: Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • Framingham: Wednesday.
  • Taunton: Wednesday.
  • Westford: Wednesday.

“We will continue to monitor the forecast and temperatures carefully in order to determine the schedule for the rest of the week,” Lowell Public Schools said on its website.

Medford Public Schools Superintendent Marice Edouard-Vincent said the decision puts students’ safety first. “We really didn’t want to put ourselves in a position where we were calling 911 if children were to get over heated and pass out or faint,” she said.

With little notice though, parents say they’re forced to make accommodations.

“They are working until 5 or 6 and now they have to worry about where to take the kids. What am I going to do? Who am I going to get so my kid can get out safe?” said Nelly Guerrero.

South Lawrence East Middle School in Lawrence. (WBZ-TV)

The situation highlights the debate of whether students should go back to school before or after the Labor Day holiday.

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“I think they should move it back to how it was before, after Labor Day,” said Ramirez.

“I know that they want to squeeze in as many days as possible, especially here we have so many snow days that happen,” said parent Rickey Gonzalez.

Chris Markuns of Lawrence Public Schools said school officials are concerned about student safety as temperatures rise.

“They’re very old brick buildings. It’s not a great accommodation and so the decision was made to try to make the most of the mornings and let kids go home a little bit early before the temperatures really started to soar,” Markuns said.

Vice Chair of the Lawrence School Committee Marianela Rivera blamed an “overemphasis on testing” for why school didn’t start later in the summer. “We’ve seen the school year start earlier and earlier, despite the administrators knowing that many of our older brick buildings with no AC feel like ovens during the hot summer months. The focus on testing and expanding the school year to maximize test prep is really dehumanizing our students and their educational experience,” she said.

Some students, however, don’t mind the early dismissal.

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“We’re all excited, of course, because we’re getting out early,” one girl said.