Despite fall being near, several schools in the Western U.S. have sent students home early due to extreme heat.
Reports emerged from Fresno, California, on Monday afternoon that the city’s Unified School District would be releasing students early amid a dangerous confluence of circumstances. According to Your Central Valley, HVAC systems at Starr Elementary School, located in Northwest Fresno, were failing on Tuesday, leaving the building without air conditioning. Due to surging heat in the Central Valley region, students were released early to keep them from overheating in class.
Regions of California are currently experiencing unseasonably extreme heat for September, with some calling the heat “historic” and “unforgiving.” Many parts of Central and Northern California are forecast to barrel past 100 degrees in the coming days, with the Central Valley region, where Fresno is located, anticipating highs up to 118 degrees. The National Weather Service warned that the heat “will significantly increase the potential for heat related illnesses.”
“This will be essentially the worst September heat wave on record, certainly in Northern California and arguably for the state overall,” Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA, said in a Twitter Spaces discussion on Tuesday. “By some metrics, it might be one of the worst heat waves on record period in any month, given its duration and its extreme magnitude, especially in Northern California and especially in the Sacramento region.”
The Fresno Unified School District stressed to parents that the health of its students is its main priority amid the current heatwave. It will also keep them updated as the HVAC situation progresses.
A similar situation also took place in the Denver Public Schools district on Tuesday, according to local reporter Cole Sullivan. As of Tuesday evening, Sullivan reported in a tweet, that the district planned to implement early release schedules in at least 28 schools that are without air conditioning amid rising temperatures. At least four schools will have classes canceled for Wednesday on account of the weather.
“Hey Denver, it’s HOT out,” Sullivan tweeted. “That means it’s hot inside the 55 Denver Public Schools without air conditioning. The district will close 28 schools early. Four schools will close entirely tomorrow because it’s too hot. At one school, administrators warned the third floor of the building could reach 90+ degrees.”
Hey Denver, it’s HOT out.That means it’s hot inside the 55 Denver Public Schools without air conditioning.
So hot that 26 schools (so far) will have early release plans because of the heat this week, the district says. Partial list from DPS below, exact release times to come. pic.twitter.com/0DvlCVql8W
— Cole Sullivan (@cole_sull) September 6, 2022
Similar to the regions in Central California, Denver is also expected to shatter heat records in the coming days, according to the Denver Post. Temperatures in the coming days are expected to approach or surpass 100 degrees, breaking previous records for the same days that hovered around the mid-90s. The region usually sees highs around 84 degrees this time of the year.
Newsweek reached out to the National Weather Service for comment.
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