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‘Heat Day’ Keeps Classrooms Closed In Fort Collins

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Irish Elementary School Principal Lindsey Walton shows how hot it is inside a classroom in Aug. 2013. (credit: CBS)

Irish Elementary School Principal Lindsey Walton shows how hot it is inside a classroom in Aug. 2013. (credit: CBS)

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)- Many in Northern Colorado are used to the term “snow day” but what about a “heat day.” That’s what has happened for students who won’t be in class on Friday.

Classes at all Poudre School District campuses are cancelled for Friday because of near record temperatures forecasted for the region. It’s a first for the school district.

School officials said the move is because many schools were built before air conditioning and classrooms will be too miserable to learn.

“We had some classrooms yesterday that were about 97-96 degrees,” said Irish Elementary School Principal Lindsey Walton.

“I recognize this is an unconventional decision,” said Poudre School District Superintendent Sandra Smyser. “We just wanted to help people out and recognize how uncomfortable it is in our classrooms.”

Only nine of the 50 buildings in the district are equipped to cool the interiors which leaves thousands of other students sweating it out in near record-breaking heat for nearly two weeks since school began.

“It’s really designed to give some temporary relief to our teachers and our students who have been dealing with this heat now for two weeks,” said Smyser.

Not everyone agrees.

“I think it’s ridiculous but that’s just my opinion,” said parent Tim Forrest. “There’s been much hotter days then this. I’ve never seen a school close for a day because it’s hot.”

“From what I’ve heard from these guys they’re miserable hot and it’s really hard to think,” said another parent.

The school district admits the heat day is a temporary solution and assures parents that a permanent plan to keep students cool is in the works.

“We won’t be doing this again next year. We will make a plan that will account for the heat in some creative way so we won’t be in this situation next year,” said Smyser.

After-school activities will continue as planned on Friday.

Other Denver metro area schools have also made changes to their schedules because of the heat.

Denver Public Schools students on West Campus will be released early on Friday. Classes for the West Campus, which includes West High School, West Leadership Academy, West Generation Academy and West Career Academy, will be released at noon Friday because of extreme heat conditions.

The Downtown Denver Expeditionary School made attendance for students optional on Thursday, and the charter school plans to be closed Friday with high temperatures once again predicted to be in the 90s.

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