Heat Day Thursday 8/24 & Decision Procedures

Posted 08/24/2023
Dear Bradley Families,

Over the course of today, the building did not cool down significantly due to higher overnight temperatures. We are acutely aware of the inconvenience of cancelling school, but even without students this afternoon, we still had classrooms approaching the mid 80 degree mark.  We hope with the weather breaking, we will not need to request future heat days and will continue to do our best to keep students in school full-days moving forward.

We will have an early-release Heat Day again tomorrow, Thursday, August 24. We will dismiss students at 11:40 am. Morning 1/2 day ECE will be dismissed at normal time, 10:40am. The afternoon 1/2 day ECE classes will be canceled.

If your student rides a bus, transportation will pick up from the school at 11:40 am and will drop your student off at their bus stop 3 hours earlier than regular time.

We will provide a sack lunch to all students prior to dismissal.

Discovery Link will also be closed for the afternoon session.

I understand this is short notice, an inconvenience for many of our families, and that childcare may be an issue for some. Please call the attendance line 720-424-9398.

On another note, I wanted to update you on the heat/cooling situation at Bradley International.

We’ve had a number of questions regarding the decision to have a heat day early release today when the temperatures are dropping slightly throughout the week.  I appreciate that there are parents who are frustrated and making arrangements for child care.  I also appreciate that parents are concerned that a heat day was not called sooner.
Here are some of the considerations that went into the decision for Bradley International.
On Monday, the building was bearable over the course of the day in terms of the inside temperature (though it was hotter outside on Monday than Tuesday).
On Tuesday, even though we left the swamp coolers running at night and the upstairs windows open on both sides of the building, it did not cool down enough overnight to really cool the building down.  It was warm when we arrived and as Mr. Smith took the temperatures over the course of the day (multiple classrooms on both sides of the building as well as the common areas), classrooms were getting increasingly warmer.  Our concern for today, Wednesday, was that if the building did not cool down substantially overnight again, today would be uncomfortably warm in the afternoon hours.
We spoke with our School Leadership Team (made up of elected teachers) and we decided to consult with the District about the possibility of an early release for today given the heat that the building was carrying in the afternoon and not a significant temperature change for the Wednesday outside temperature. District Leadership reviewed requests from all the schools considering a heat day, including the data for classroom temperatures, and supported this recommendation at Bradley.   I am aware that 17 DPS Schools without air conditioning are closing early today as well – I’m guessing many are sharing our experience.
We will be assessing temperatures this afternoon as well, in case we need to consider another early release heat day tomorrow.  The temperature is supposed to drop fairly dramatically into Friday – which is good news!
Schools are all different. The direction they face and where the sun comes in are different, the number of floors in the building impacts (hot air rising – our 2nd floor is hotter than our first), the amount of shade surrounding the school that supports cooling, the capacity of the building to move students in warmer classrooms to cooler spaces – and likely many other considerations) it is definitely not a one-size-fits all decision based on the unique attributes of each facility and program.
The hallways have large swamp coolers provided by the Denver Public Schools – we ask that teachers teach with their doors open to allow this cooler air to come into their classrooms.
As described above, there is a protocol of keeping upper windows open at night (if rain is not in the forecast) to allow the building to cool down overnight.
Mr. Smith, out Facilities Manager, comes in at 5 AM and opens all other windows in the building.
All classrooms have a fan.
We have 2 Bradley parents who have stepped forward to bring their knowledge of passive air cooling and electrical systems to Bradley. They will be out tomorrow morning to look at the building, along with a member of the DPS Facilities Department to talk about possibilities of other cooling devices that might be used.  I am aware that there were/are many individual cooling units in the building that were purchased by parents over the years to help with heat mitigation.  At this time, it is my understanding that the Fire Marshal is not allowing us to use these units because of the strain on the 1950’s electrical systems in this building.  I am definitely not a heating or electrical expert, so I am grateful to all of those coming to try to help us work through some additional solutions.
We have other parents who have also offered to support in all ways possible – thank you for that.
I appreciate your advocacy. I will always tell you what I know and don’t know – I also know that a heat day decision (or not) will not please everyone – our focus is always on what the experience in the individual classrooms will be, and it is my best hope that these days will be extremely limited.

In partnership,
Elinor Roller
Interim (Retired) Principal, Bradley Elementary
Denver Public Schools
(720) 424-9468