Some Colorado schools cancel class amid high heat forecast

Students walk by large Portacool Cooling systems set up in the hallways of KIPP Denver Collegiate High School on September 24, 2018 in Denver, Colorado.
KIPP Denver Collegiate High School is among the Denver schools releasing students early this week because of the heat. (Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post)

Record-breaking heat in Colorado this week has prompted public schools without air conditioning to close or announce plans to send students home early.

More than 30 Denver schools are calling “heat days,” according to a district press release. Most schools are releasing students early Wednesday and Thursday, but four schools are closing altogether for at least one day this week.

They include:

Godsman Elementary was closed Tuesday.

Columbine Elementary will be closed Wednesday and Thursday.

Knapp Elementary will be closed Wednesday and Thursday.

Next Steps at Barrett will be closed Wednesday and Thursday.

Denver Montessori Junior/Senior High will release students early Thursday.

George Washington High will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

KIPP Denver Collegiate High will release students early Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

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Manual High will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Montbello High will release students early Thursday.

South High will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Thomas Jefferson High will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

West High will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Lake Middle will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

McAuliffe International School will release students early Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Skinner Middle will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

West Middle will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Asbury Elementary will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

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Bradley International School will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Bryant Webster Dual Language School will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Carson Elementary will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Cory Elementary will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Cowell Elementary will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Denison Montessori will release students early Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Doull Elementary will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Ellis Elementary will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Goldrick Elementary will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Math and Science Leadership Academy will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

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McMeen Elementary will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Park Hill Elementary will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Polaris Elementary will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Sabin World Elementary will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Stedman Elementary will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Steele Elementary will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Stephen Knight Center for Early Education will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Traylor Academy will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

University Park Elementary will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Whittier ECE-8 will release students early Wednesday and Thursday.

Other Colorado school districts have announced similar closures. All schools in the Poudre district, based in Fort Collins, and the Thompson district, based in Loveland, will release students two hours early on Wednesday and Thursday. Most Poudre schools don’t have air conditioning, the district said in a press release.

Forty-eight Denver campuses don’t have air conditioning. (See the list here.) Thirty-one of those are not scheduled to get it anytime soon. But 17 campuses are slated to get air conditioning later this fall or next school year with funding passed by Denver voters in 2020

That funding was earmarked to add air conditioning at 24 Denver campuses. Work has been completed at seven campuses and is nearly complete at eight more. Supply chain issues have slowed the work at those eight campuses, district officials said. The district is scheduling work at the remaining nine campuses to start next summer.

Tuesday was the fourth day this September with temperatures above 95 degrees, breaking a record for the month, and Wednesday and Thursday could both see temperatures near 100 degrees, according to Denver meteorologists.

Denver has posted 62 days this year above 90 degrees, the third most on record.

Melanie Asmar is a senior reporter for Chalkbeat Colorado, covering Denver Public Schools. Contact Melanie at masmar@chalkbeat.org.

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