DENVER (KDVR) — Denver Public Schools students had to deal with brutally hot temperatures on their first day of school Monday.

It was especially tough for students at the 37 DPS schools without air conditioning. Traylor Academy, an elementary school in Bear Valley, is one of those schools. 

Third-grade teacher Madie Rinehart said the heat takes a toll.

“I think it impacts everybody’s focus, and when you’re not focused, it’s really hard to do any learning,” she said.

The school has multiple portable coolers set up in hallways, and staff came in early to open windows. Teachers can turn off lights or close blinds, and many of them bought fans with their own money.

“I don’t think that it’s equitable,” Rinehart said.

86 degrees in the lunchroom

It’s a tough situation, it was already 86 degrees in the lunchroom by 11 a.m.

“Sometimes it can get up to the mid-90s,” said Rich Archuletta, executive director for facility management at DPS.

“We’ve done quite a bit of proactive measures to make sure that we are as ready as we possibly can, knowing that we can’t bring the building down to 75, 78, which would be ideal, but trying to keep it at a reasonable temperature so kids can learn,” he said.

Archuletta said the 2020 bond measure passed by Denver voters provided funding to put AC into additional DPS schools. That work is in progress and should be complete by the end of 2024. But even when completed, there will still be 30 DPS schools without AC.

Archuletta said AC installation can cost several million dollars per school.