A hundred schools in the Philadelphia School District will close early on Tuesday and Wednesday owing to the predicted high temperatures, according to a statement sent by district officials late Monday night. All schools will close three hours early since none of them has enough working air conditioning to keep everyone in the building comfortably. There will be no after-school activities or athletic events for certain schools. There will be no changes to the regular schedules at district headquarters or at the other schools in the system.
Administrators at the school noted in an email to parents and students, “Early dismissals, particularly those announced the day before, may cause difficulties for many households.” These are not choices we take lightly, but the safety of our children and staff is always our first concern, so thank you for understanding.” More than half of the school buildings, according to Tony B. Watlington, the superintendent of schools, do not have classrooms that can “adequately cool” all of the students and teachers.
In June, district officials said that in the future, when high temperatures require school cancellations or early dismissals, only the schools without full air conditioning systems will be affected. A total of 216 schools make up the district’s educational facilities, although there are around 300 buildings in total. Watlington claims that this summer witnessed the installation of 500 new room air conditioners in schools. We estimate that there are around 5,000 classes in the public school system. He apparently said, “We have a great lot more planning to do with our air conditioning.” Unfortunately, many schools lack adequate electricity to power school-wide cooling systems. On Monday, school started for the 114,000 students who attend schools inside the Philadelphia School District.