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Attendance low Tuesday; District must make up at least one snow day already

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Attendance was lower than usual Tuesday, one of the coldest days in recent memory, with just 64 percent of students attending elementary and middle schools and 45 percent in high schools.

"It wasn’t a wasted day," said District spokesman Fernando Gallard. Attendance rates at different schools varied widely, ranging from near perfect to numbers in the 30s. Average daily attendance for last school year was just over 90 percent.

Edison High School was closed Monday and Tuesday due to broken pipes, and Bethune Elementary in North Philadelphia closed early Tuesday due to balky heating, Gallard said. Edison will be closed again on Wednesday, while Bethune is expected to be open.

Gallard said that the District must make up at least one snow day this year so far in order to meet state requirements. There are four alternatives: shortening spring break, adding a day to the end of the year, repurposing a planned professional development day for teachers, or asking the Pennsylvania Department of Education for a waiver of the 180-day minimum requirement.

The last option, Gallard said, is usually invoked only if there are several days to be made up.

He said there was no timetable for making a decision, as officials wait for the worst of the bad weather to play out.

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