Dear PSD community,
For the safety of our students and staff, schools will release two hours early on Wednesday, Sept. 7, and Thursday, Sept. 8, due to predicted temperatures in the high-90s.
Based on the current forecast for the week, we anticipate that school will take place on Friday as usual (no early release).
What this means:
- School will start at normal times.
- Breakfast and lunch will be served.
- AlphaBEST – Before-school care will be available; there will NOT be after-school care.
- Students who typically ride the bus home will still do so; their routes will arrive at stops two hours earlier.
- Futures Lab –
- AM session: 9:15-11:15 a.m.
- PM session: 12:45-1:45 p.m.
- Early Childhood Educationq -
- AM sessions attend at normal times
- PM sessions are cancelled.
- Full-day sessions will dismiss two hours early.
- Schools can move extracurricular activities to mornings or evenings, depending on the availability of club or activity sponsors.
- Athletic practices and competitions will continue, aligned with Colorado High School Activities Association and National Federation of State High School Associations medical and heat guidelines. Coaches have been asked to move practices to mornings or evenings; competitions should begin no earlier than 6:30 p.m. in the evenings.
The “why” behind our decision:
- Most of our schools do not have air conditioning; some with AC only have it in certain spaces, such as a computer lab or media centers.
- To address the heat this school year, we have taken additional steps that include opening school doors even earlier in the mornings to draw cool air in before closing them before the first bell and buying fans for all classrooms.
- These efforts, however, are not enough to combat this week’s forecasted high temperatures, which often result in classroom temperatures in the high-80s to 90s.
- PSD is working through a process to get current cost estimates and timelines for installation of air conditioning in all schools. This multi-million-dollar project is anticipated to take at least several years to complete and will likely require support from voters in the future. Because temperatures have continued to rise over the years, we believe this is an important step for PSD.
- The Calendar Committee will continue to consider what changes could be made to future school year calendars to address the heat. It is important to note that high temperatures are predicted to continue after Labor Day.
We know that this announcement may prompt a range of emotions, from relief to frustration, and that it may be tough to find childcare or take time off work. This wasn’t an easy decision because it has wide-reaching effects, and it was ultimately made with our students and staff's safety in mind.
Many of you have shared concerns about the heat in schools with principals, our Board of Education and Superintendent Brian Kingsley. We know that high temperatures make teaching and learning more challenging, and we appreciate your advocacy. Please know that we are committed to addressing this challenge in the short- and long term.
Thank you for your continued partnership.
Poudre School District
Frequently Asked Questions
Question. Will charter schools be open?
Answer: PSD's announcement does not pertain to charter schools. If your student attends a charter school and you have questions about their schedule, please contact your school. The Liberty Common School campuses will remain open this week.
Q: How many PSD schools don’t have air conditioning?
A: Of our 55 schools (this includes PSD-authorized charters), 33 (about 60%) do not have air conditioning (these are a mix of elementary, middle, and high schools). Some schools without whole-building air conditioning do have limited air conditioning in select spaces; for example, a school’s media center or computer lab may have AC.
Q: Why don’t PSD’s schools have air conditioning?
A: PSD is not unlike some of the other school districts in Northern Colorado and along the Front Range that don’t have air conditioning in schools. About 60% of PSD’s 55 schools don’t have air conditioning; some schools without whole-building air conditioning only have it in select areas of the school, such as computer labs or media centers. As part of past bond and mill levy override requests, PSD has prioritized the construction of new schools and needed updates to existing schools, such as the replacement of decades-old carpet, roofs and boilers, the installation of inclusive playground equipment or upgrades to fire alarm and other security systems. That said, PSD is engaged in a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to get current cost estimates and timelines for installation of air conditioning in all schools. It is estimated that installation of air conditioning in those schools without it will be a multimillion-dollar project that may take as long as 10 years to complete. A future, possible decision to install air conditioning in all schools would be extremely expensive and require community input and support.
Q: Is PSD planning to install air conditioning in all schools?
A: As part of past bond and mill levy override requests, PSD has prioritized the construction of new schools and needed updates to existing schools, such as the replacement of decades-old carpet, roofs and boilers, the installation of inclusive playground equipment or upgrades to fire alarm and other security systems. That said, PSD is working through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to get current cost estimates and timelines for installation of air conditioning in all schools. This multi-million-dollar project is anticipated to take at least several years to complete and will likely require support from voters in the future.
A future, possible decision to install air conditioning in all schools would be extremely expensive and require community input and support. We anticipate that it would require voter support to fund.
Q: So far this school year, temperatures have been in the 90s some days. Why is this week’s forecast affect on schools different?
A: The forecasted temperatures for the week of Sept. 5 are among the highest since the start of the 2022-23 school year, with some days projected to be in the high 90s. Many of our classrooms reach temperatures in the high-80s or low-90s when exterior temperatures are above 95 degrees Fahrenheit. We have taken additional steps this school year to address the heat. These measures include buying fans for all classrooms and opening school doors at 2 a.m. instead of 5-6 a.m. to draw cool air in before closing them before the first bell. These efforts, however, will not be enough to combat this week’s forecasted high temperatures, which often result in classroom temperatures in the high-80s to 90s.
Q: Can parents/guardians or Parent Teacher Organizations (PTOs) buy window air conditioning units for their student’s classroom so that those students can be cooler and go to school on declared “heat days”?
A: No, as gracious of an offer as that is. From an equity standpoint, neither the school district nor every Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) has enough money to buy a window air conditioner for every one of PSD’s roughly 700 classrooms. Therefore, it would be inequitable for some students to remain in school because their parent/guardian or PTO was able to afford a unit, while others had to remain home on a “heat day.” Additionally, PSD’s Operations Department has concerns that our schools wouldn’t be able to sustain the electrical load of adding air conditioning units in all classrooms. We anticipate that significant electrical system upgrades would be necessary to support these additions.
Q: Why is AlphaBEST providing before-school care services but not after-school care services?
A: AlphaBEST does not have enough staff who could start work earlier to meet required ratios of staff to children.
Q: It seems like remote learning could have been a feasible option, instead of early release. Was this option considered?
A: Many PSD families have experience with remote learning from the past when our district shifted to remote learning during the pandemic. That said, there are many families and students who are new to PSD or did not experience remote learning. We believe that our staff, our families and our students – particularly those with no remote learning experience – need more than 24 hours’ notice to pick up electronic devices and learn about remote learning expectations. Therefore, we decided to call for early release on Wednesday and Thursday.
Q: My student attends one of the few schools with air conditioning. Can they stay in school through the end of usual dismissal?
A: No, all students will be released from school two hours early. Dismissing all students two hours early allows for Transportation to not alter students’ physical bus routes.
Q: You said that custodians are opening exterior doors in the early morning hours to draw in cool air and then shutting them by the first bell. Is that working?
A: Overnight temperatures are projected to be in the 50s and 60s during the week of Sept. 5. Since the start of the 2022-23 school year, buildings have remained relatively cool until about 10 a.m. That is when we see temperatures start to rise.
Q: Are athletics on Tuesday, Sept. 6, cancelled?
A: Athletics will go as normal today, Tuesday, Sept. 6. CHSAA monitors the heat index, and we are within a normal range to continue today as planned.
Q: Why are they early release days and not entire days off?
A: This decision was made to address the needs of all the schools as a system. With cooler temperatures in the morning and some schools with air conditioning it is hard to justify taking the entire day off, so this decision addresses the needs of all the schools.