Parents scramble to adjust as Philly schools dismiss early due to heat as district plans year-round school

Friday’s extreme heat caused a long list of schools in the School District of Philadelphia to dismiss early, leaving parents to make last-minute changes to schedules.

The perfect day for the splash pad at Roberto Clemente Park, in Spring Garden, but not inside an aging school in Philadelphia that doesn’t have enough air conditioning.

Parents with students at Laura W. Waring School wish the district gave them more heads up than 24 hours.

"I had a couple of things to do, but I had to pick her up," parent Julie Corchado said. "At least two days. The weather is there for like a week, so they should at least let us know at least two days, because first they put early dismissal for 12:30 and now 1:30."\

Jonathan spent the afternoon with his grandmother because his school is one of the nearly 100 that dismissed two hours early out of an abundance of caution to prevent heat-related illnesses.

"It’s not as complicated as other parents because they have me here, so I can pick him up if something like that happens or whatever. But, for other parents, I’m sure it’s not that easy," remarked grandparent Trina DiVeterano.

RELATED COVERAGE: Nearly 100 Philadelphia schools to dismiss early Friday due to excessive heat

Some parents chose to keep their kids out of school the entire day. Parent Avdellim Ibramheem explained, "Temperature, mainly. I said we’ll take a chill day. It’s towards the end of the year."

The school board just approved a five-year strategic plan, including a pilot program, introducing year-round school in the district.

"The year-round pilot program would only be phased in for 10 schools, initially," district spokesperson Monique Braxton stated. "Dozens of schools right now have contractors inside that are upgrading the electrical systems."

Braxton says everything hangs on the school budget. It may only be two or three year-round schools to start and in buildings with enough air conditioning for the hot summer months. "We want to be fair. We want to be inclusive and those are some of our top priorities."

The district says it has the students' health at heart.