Class is back in session, but summer isn’t quite over in Denver. High temps expected today and Friday have some schools shutting down.
Several Denver Public Schools closed for a Heat Day Thursday, including McMeen Elementary School in Washington Virginia Vale and Traylor Academy in Bear Valley.
Other schools had early releases, including Denison Montessori in Mar Lee and Merrill Middle School in Cory-Merrill.
Temperatures are expected to hit 95 degrees Fahrenheit today — a record-high for September 9th, according to the National Weather Service, which has recorded the weather in the city since 1872. The current record, set in 1994, is 94 degrees Fahrenheit.
High temps will remain into Friday, so more school closures and early releases are expected.
The NWS said Friday temperatures could reach a high of 98 degrees Fahrenheit, which would make for another record-breaking day. The current record for September 10 is 93 degrees Fahrenheit set in 2018.
Will Jones, Director of External Communications for DPS, said eight schools will have a half day Friday and three are expected to close. School leaders have until 4 p.m. Thursday to finalize the list, so more schools may be added.
“Some of our schools are having either a half day or they’re closing because of the heat,” said Jones. “This is one of the challenges we have in DPS every year because many of our buildings are very old. So, when you have these older facilities, it’s not necessarily easy to upgrade them to the latest technology. When some of our buildings were built, air conditioning didn’t exist.”
Jones said 50 DPS schools do not have air conditioning, previously the number stood at 55. He also said 19 of those schools are scheduled to get air conditioning over the next two summers.
Besides upgrading the schools with air conditioning units, Jones said one way DPS tried to beat the heat was by starting school later.
The school board voted to move back the August 16 start date to August 23.
“We started the school year a week later in the hopes that the heat would be behind us,” Jones said. “But mother nature is being mother nature. Unfortunately, we’re dealing with this extreme heat. Last year, this time, we were dealing with a snowstorm…So, right now we’re at the mercy of mother nature.”
Scott Entrekin, a NWS meteorologist, said temperatures are expected to cool off slightly over the weekend and through next week. With the heat and the continued smoke coming from the wildfires in Northern California, Entrekin said those with allergies and lung issues should stay inside.
So, can we expect fall weather anytime soon?
“I don’t know if we’ll be getting that cool,” Entrekin said. “It is kind of common that we get these hot dry spells, specifically in September it’s fairly dry and mild. Summer’s not quite done yet.
Here’s an updated list (as of 5 p.m. Thursday) of school closures and early releases for Friday.
Asbury Elementary School
Cory Elementary School
Lincoln Elementary School
Merrill Middle School
Steele Elementary School
Stephen Knight Center for Early Education
Thomas Jefferson High School
Knapp Elementary School (Closing in the afternoon)
Brown International Academy
Doull Elementary School
Manual High School
Stedman Elementary School
McMeen Elementary School
Polaris Elementary School
Hamilton Middle School