WORCESTER – Schools in the city will be closed on Tuesday due to extreme cold, low temperatures and high winds that are expected to cause a bitter explosion in the area.
Additionally, the city’s COVID-19 testing center in downtown Mercantile Center will also be closed on Tuesday. The center, usually with long lines outside, will reopen on Wednesday.
Temperatures are expected to continue to drop for the first half of the week, along with a wind chill in Worcester that could look like minus 8 on Tuesday.
Superintendent Maureen Binienda has confirmed that schools, Head Start and all before and after school activities and programs will be canceled to protect students from the freezing temperatures forecast for Tuesday.
“COVID regulations state that school bus windows must be kept open, which on Tuesday could potentially make frostbite worse for students,” Binienda said.
She said the increase in COVID-19 cases involving transport personnel contributed to the cancellation.
“There is an increase in COVID with transport personnel, which could result in buses being late for up to 30 minutes,” Binienda said. “Therefore, we always care about the safety of our students and staff and therefore the focus should be on their safety. So we decided not to have a school.”
Worcester is among other Commonwealth school systems to cancel school on Tuesday, including Boston, Springfield and Lowell Public Schools.
After a tolerable day Monday, with a high temperature in the mid-1920s, the mercury reading is expected to drop to single digits overnight Monday through Tuesday and Tuesday through Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.
Tuesday’s daytime temperature will be consistently low, reaching 10 degrees, the weather service said.
Wind chill could drop to 8 below. It will be colder in communities north of Worcester, with Fitchburg possibly seeing a low reading of minus 11, according to NWS.
Monday and Wednesday will occasionally see high winds with gusts in the order of 20 mph.
Daytime temperatures for the rest of the week are expected to be in the 1930s, with nighttime readings in the 20s, according to the NWS.
Cold weather safety tips
- Cut back on outdoor activities for the whole family, including pets.
- Dress in several layers of loose, light clothing instead of a single heavy layer. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Wear a hat, mittens (not gloves), and sturdy waterproof boots to protect your arms, legs, hands, and feet.
- Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
- Follow the recommended safety precautions when using radiators, a fireplace, or a wood stove to heat your home. Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
- Make sure backup generators or secondary heating systems are well ventilated.
- If you lose heating, move into a separate room. At night, cover windows and exterior doors with extra blankets or sheets.
- Wrap the pipes in insulation or layers of plastic-covered newspaper to prevent them from freezing. Let a stream of hot water run from a faucet to keep water flowing through your pipes.
- If your pipes do freeze, fully open all faucets, remove any insulation and heat the frozen pipe with a hair dryer or wrap it with towels soaked in hot water. Never use an open flame to thaw pipes.
- Be a good neighbor. Check with family, friends and neighbors, especially the elderly, those who live alone, those with health issues, and those who may need extra help.