Parents prepare as School District of Philadelphia plans for early dismissals due to extreme heat

6abc meteorologists said temperatures will be in the mid to upper 90s with heat index values near 100.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023
Parents prepare as School District of Philadelphia plans for early dismissals due to extreme heat
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Parents prepare as School District of Philadelphia plans for early dismissals due to extreme heat

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The summer heat has forced the School District of Philadelphia to dismiss more than 70 schools early this week.

District officials said 74 schools without air conditioning or with inadequate cooling will be let out three hours early on Tuesday and Wednesday due to the extreme heat.

Action News meteorologists said temperatures will be in the mid to upper 90s with heat index values near 100.

"It's very hard to function because with heat like that it makes you tired, it makes you restless, and you'll be irritated," said Conchetta McClary, whose four grandchildren are in the School District of Philadelphia.

"Kids can have a heat stroke in school if it's too hot," said Doris Leavy, whose son is in the district. "There's no air circulation or they don't have good water fountains."

But for some, like parent Destiny Hill of North Philadelphia, the early dismissal create challenges.

"We kind of use the school system as primary childcare if you would like to say," said Hill.

For the little ones, water spouts are a lot fun and one way to cool down in this blistering heat. Kids could be seen frolicking in the fountains on Labor Day at Dilworth Park and Logan Square.

"They're loving it. We're in the shade and they are not hot at all," said David Weinstein of South Philadelphia.

POOLS 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.

"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 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.

BEATING THE HEAT

Residents around the area are doing their best to keep cool as the temperature hikes up.

Some kids hit splash pads in Center City, while others stuck to the shade.

"You got to get out here. There's a lot of shade, like trees to enjoy yourself," said Renald Boyer from South Philadelphia.

It's also important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Some people opted to cool down with a tasty treat, however.

"We walked and I'm hot and I'm ready to go home. I needed something cold," said Alice Deemer from Pottstown while she and her family had a cold dessert.

Action News met one man who was embracing the heat while on his seven-mile run.

"Oh, it's hot out here. I think I checked my watch, it was like 98 degrees. But you have to put in the hard days to get the easy ones," said Neil Hussain from Fishtown.

If you are planning on breaking a sweat during the hot weather, click here to learn important information on heat exhaustion and how to avoid it.