Heat wave leads to early closures at Philly schools

Philly is feeling the heat. (Charles Mostoller)

Update:

On Wednesday, Aug. 29, the School District announced the early closures will continue on Thursday, Aug. 30, with schools closing at 1 p.m. and after-school activities canceled. All employees will work a normal schedule. 

“Temperatures are forecasted to be above 90 degrees again tomorrow, the fourth day in a row of above 90 degree temperatures,” the School District said in a statement. “As heat builds during the day, buildings are experiencing uncomfortable conditions. Because temperatures are remaining high into the evening, many buildings are not cooling overnight. Only 27 percent of the District’s school buildings have central air conditioning.”

Original story:

A heat wave hitting Philadelphia will close public schools early on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week [edit: as well as Thursday].

The School District of Philadelphia announced Monday that schools will close at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday Aug. 28, 29, and 30, due to the heat.

“Due to the high temperatures forecasted, all School District of Philadelphia schools will dismiss students at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, August 28 and Wednesday, August 29,” the School District announced. “School-based employees are expected to work their normal work day and Administrative Offices will operate on regular business hours. All after-school activities including all athletic programs and professional development sessions scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday are canceled.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a heat advisory for the Philadelphia region, saying temperatures would feel as hot as 100 to 104 degrees at some points due to humidity and heat.

Around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, NWS issued an advisory warning of a heat index “up to 103 degrees due to afternoon temperatures in the lower 90s.”

NWS Heat Map for Aug. 28, 2018 heat wave

“The heat and humidity may cause heat stress during outdoor exertion or extended exposure,” NWS said. “Limit or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities. Find shade and stay hydrated. Check up on the elderly, sick and those without air conditioning. Never leave kids or pets unattended.”

Philly schools open ahead of heat wave

The School District moved its opening date up a week this year to Aug. 27, the week before Labor Day, in part to get one full week of school before the month of September, which is dotted with religious holidays.

They also wanted to frontload academic time into the schedule before standardized testing comes along later in the year.

Some 40 percent of Philly public schools don’t have air conditioning systems. But since the School District’s climate analysis found that the last week of August and first week of September are typically roughly equal in temperatures, the early opening wouldn’t affect students.

Unfortunately, it appears Mother Nature chose to disprove that theory, at least for this year.

The School District urged parents to check back for updates at www.philasd.org, on the District’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PhillySchools, their Twitter feed, @PHLschools, or to callthe District’s Information Hotline at 215-400-INFO (4636) for further details. 

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