Philly schools to dismiss students early on first day amid extreme heat

Some parents say efforts to install A/C in all city schools is taking too long and disrupting their children's education.

Students wear face masks outside of their school in Philly

Philadelphia School District students at Samuel Powel Elementary School and Science Leadership Academy Middle School returned to in-person learning on Aug. 31, 2021. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

This story originally appeared on 6abc.

Labor Day has come and gone, and now it is the first day of school in the School District of Philadelphia.

The first day comes amid a heat wave, with temperatures once again set to stretch into the 90s.

There are early dismissals on Tuesday and Wednesday for 74 schools in the Philadelphia School District that lack air conditioning.

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The district has been working to improve cooling systems in schools with the goal over time of providing every school with the system needed to not disrupt in-person learning.

Superintendent Tony Watlington will be at Passyunk Bus Depot greeting bus drivers as they head out on their routes Tuesday morning.

Some pools are still open

Several pools in Philadelphia are remaining open due to the extreme heat, including the following:

  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center – Cecil B. Moore Ave.
  • Shuler Pool – 3000 N. 27th St., 19132
  • Tustin Pool – 5901 W. Columbia Ave., 19151
  • Samuel Pool – 3539 Gaul St., 19134

The School District of Philadelphia said they’ll monitor the weather to determine whether classes will be dismissed early on Thursday and Friday.

Officials say they will know by noon the day before.

Some parents said it’s the best solution to keep students safe, but the late notice impacts their schedule.

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“It’s a lot of running around to me,” said Aiyana Payton, who has a son in the school district.

“I might have to take off of work,” said Leavy. “I feel like we’re just starting to get back to the norm, so now the kids have to come home early because of the heat. It’s kind of frustrating.”

The district said they’ve been working with urgency to install updated air conditioning systems and electrical systems in the schools over the past five years.

However, some parents said it’s taking too long and disrupting their children’s education.

“I really do think that’s a lie because there are a lot of things they need to work on and I haven’t seen no improvement,” said Leavy.

Other Philly-area schools dismissing early

The Upper Darby School District superintendent said they’ll also dismiss students early on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday because of the heat.

Officials with the William Penn School District in Delaware County said they will operate on a half-day schedule Wednesday through Friday.

Wednesday is the district’s first day of school for students in first through 12th grade and Friday is the first day for kindergarten students.

The Camden City School District said it will operate on a half-day schedule Wednesday and Thursday. All after-school and evening activities will also be canceled.

“We will closely monitor the forecast and communicate next week whether we will operate a half-day or full-day schedule on Friday, September 8,” officials said.

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