First Day of School in Philly Could Be After Labor Day in 2019

After this year’s early heat closures, the school board will vote this week on delaying the start of classes next year.


philly schools excessive heat warning labor day

The Philadelphia School District’s Board of Education will vote this week on delaying the start of classes until after Labor Day.

The decision comes after sizzling temperatures in August forced the school district to close at 1 p.m. on the first three days of the current school year, amid a heat advisory that brought heat index values up to 108 degrees Fahrenheit. It was exactly what some parents and teachers worried would happen when the city announced the plan to begin classes on August 27th, a week before Labor Day (especially considering that many schools don’t have air conditioning).

Somehow, the school district maintains that this summer’s cancellations are not the sole factor for their decision to vote on a later starting this year, according to Philly.com. The publication reports that at a school board meeting last week, school district spokesman Lee Whack said there was “certainly feedback” on this year’s early start, though.

According to Philly.com, the proposed 2019–20 calendar would begin after Labor Day (which will fall on September 2nd) and include eight days for winter break and a week for spring break, with the school year ending on June 12th. On the other hand, the proposed 2020–21 calendar would begin on August 31st (a full week before Labor Day that year, which will fall on September 7th) and include two weeks for winter break and one week for spring break, with classes ending on June 14th.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires 180 days of instruction for public schools. Chief schools officer Shawn Bird said school can’t run past June 15th in 2019 because of an issue regarding how teachers are currently paid, according to Philly.com. So officials have to plan the academic calendars carefully.

The school board is scheduled to vote on the 2019–20 and 2020–21 academic calendars at a meeting on Thursday.