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The School District of Philadelphia building.

Photo: WHYY NewsWorks

WHYY NewsWorks

Students, educators frustrated by many days off early in the year

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

It’s been a bumpy start to classroom instruction in the Philadelphia School District.

Between holidays and days off during the papal visit, by the end of September, kids will have had only 11 days of classes.

With Columbus Day sailing on the horizon, the city’s District schools have only three full five-day weeks before Thanksgiving.

Surely, some kids celebrate the freedom, but it’s unsettling many others.

District spokesman Fernando Gallard said students have reached out to Superintendent William Hite to express their concerns.

"Students have actually commented on this and said that they are very eager to get started on their projects, and these on and off days have made it difficult for them," he said.

The District, though, said the closures couldn’t be avoided during the papal visit, which is cancelling Thursday, Friday and Monday.

"Truly, the consideration is: Can we transport students safely, and can staff get to school safely and on time?" Gallard said.

Some teachers are frustrated, too.

Students "are coming off the summer slide, you’re trying to get them ramped back up, and then, bam, they’re out six days," said Andrew Saltz, who teaches English at Paul Robeson High School in West Philadelphia.

"School is about getting in a rhythm and making relationships," he said. "And I feel like the Eagles’ offense right now … Once it seems like I have a good thing going, we just get pulled back."

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks