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Excessive Heat Prompts Early Dismissal In Philadelphia School District

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(Schoolkids board the bus home outside McCall Elementary School in center city Philadelphia.  Credit: Mike DeNardo)

(Schoolkids board the bus home outside McCall Elementary School in center city Philadelphia. Credit: Mike DeNardo)

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Mike DeNardo, a veteran of KYW Newsradio for more than 25 years,...
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia public schools allowed students and staff to go home early today, because of the heat and humidity.

Classes at Philadelphia public schools were dismissed at 1:30pm, and after-school activities were called off.

There were no arguments from students or faculty at McCall Elementary School, at 7th and Pine.  The school is 102 years old, with no air conditioning, and principal Carol Domb says it can get quite warm on the upper floors.

“Once you’re at the heat of the day, it’s really hard for kids to concentrate,” she said.

Aqueela Fogle, who was picking up her fifth- and first-grade kids, says it can get oppressive inside McCall when the weather gets warm:

“I went to school here.   My mom, my grandmother.  This is like, generations.  So I know how hot it gets in here.”

Another parent says a little more advance notice would have been nice, but she agrees with the decision to close schools early.

Schools in Camden, New Jersey, were also dismissed early as result of the heat.

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The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging is also taking precautions and opened its “Heatline” call center. The Heatline is active through Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Anyone who needs information about air-conditioned locations, tips on coping with the heat and detecting signs of heat stress, can call 215-765-9040. Philadelphia Health Department nurses were also on site.

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning that remains in effect until 7 PM tonight. A flash flood watch was also in effect due to the likelihood of thunderstorms.

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