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DENVER (KDVR) — Several schools in Denver Public Schools will dismiss students early or close because of record-setting temperatures hovering in the upper 90s on Thursday and Friday.

These schools blame record hot temperatures for the early dismissals, claiming the heat makes it nearly impossible for students to learn if their building doesn’t have air conditioning when temperatures get this high.

The students at Grant Beacon Middle School were some of the lucky ones with air conditioning, installed just a few months ago.

“This work is hard work. It’s hard enough without the heat, but the heat just adds another layer,” Grant Beacon Middle School Principal Jennifer Anderson told FOX31 on Thursday. “It causes fatigue and burnout. We need our teachers to be happy and positive, and we need our students on their A-game so they can learn.”

DPS staff had to decide whether to keep students home or send them home early when temperatures in the classroom rose too high. With the record heat, open windows and exhaust fans barely cut it.

“It’s not fair to be sitting in a classroom that’s very hot to learn in,” said Heather Bock, director of planning and construction with DPS. “Denver has been here since the late 1800s. Our schools have been here that long, too. We have some schools that are 100 years old. Trying to modify a school that was designed then to meet today’s needs and requirements is very difficult.”

In 2020, Denver voters passed a bond that allowed the district to start installing air conditioning in 55 schools that didn’t have central air. Today, the district has 55 more to go. By the end of 2023, the district plans to have air conditioning installed in all but one remaining school that will require additional time to get the job done.

Schools impacted:

Schools closing Friday, Sept. 9, due to heat:

  • McMeen Elementary School (ECE-5)
  • Traylor Academy (ECE-5)
  • Polaris Elementary School  (1-5)    
  • Hamilton Middle School (6-8)

Schools with half-day attendance:

  • Cory Elementary School (1-5)
  • Stephen Knight Center for Early Education (ECE-K)
  • Merrill Middle School (6-8)
  • Denison Montessori (ECE-6)
  • Asbury Elementary School (K-5)
  • Lincoln Elementary School (ECE-6) 
  • Steele Elementary School (K-5)
  • Thomas Jefferson High School (9-12)
  • Brown International Academy (ECE-6)
  • Doull Elementary School (ECE-6)
  • Manual High School (9-12)
  • Stedman Elementary School (ECE-6)

ECE closing during the afternoon:

  • Knapp Elementary School (ECE)

For more updates on Denver school closures due to heat, visit the DPS web page.