September 04, 2018
The School District of Philadelphia will again send students home early on Wednesday as excessive heat continues to smother the region.
District officials said Tuesday that all public schools will dismiss at noon on Wednesday, marking the fourth unplanned early dismissal since the school year began last Monday. Students got out early last Friday as part of a planned in-service day.
As with last week's early dismissals, all after-school activities and professional development sessions will be canceled on Wednesday. All school-based and administrative employees will be expected to report for their normal work days.
Temperatures are expected to reach 92 degrees on Wednesday, with heat index values pushing up near 100 degrees.
The early dismissals come as the district adjusts to a new calendar that sent students back to school before Labor Day for the the first time this year. Opponents of the change had questioned the likely impact of summer heat as early as 2016, when the proposal came under attack by Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan.
Only 27 percent of Philadelphia public school buildings have central air conditioning, making the high temperatures a barrier to learning and productivity. Even overnight, the heat often takes a while to escape the city's aging schools.
Temperatures are expected to remain in the low 90s on Thursday before dropping back into the eighties on Friday, with a chance of showers and thunderstorms persisting through next weekend.