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Childcare Concerns Arise As Schools Close For Papal Visit

By Rahel Solomon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Many students in Philadelphia are off to a long weekend partially thanks to the Pope's visit. That left some parents scrambling for childcare.

Many parents say if they have to work and their kids are out of school -- childcare was a challenge. The School District of Philadelphia says this really came down to traffic and hopefully the closures are more of a convenience for parents than an inconvenience.

Tuesday was practically speaking more like Friday for students in the Philadelphia School District.

Schools in the district are now closed through Tuesday morning. This Wednesday is Yom Kippur. Thursday, Friday and Monday its off for the papal visit.   The school district says street closures prompted the decision.

"Our biggest challenge is to get our students and staff into schools."

Some private schools like West Philadelphia's Children's Community School are partially open but they tell CBS 3 Eyewitness News about half the students wont be showing up. Students like little Avery whose grandma says they'll be staying in Delaware.

"It's great to have safety and what not be a top concern but for a lot of people there are a lot of contingency plans that depend on people that don't work," said grandparent Kathy Johnson.

In Northeast Philadelphia at Charter School Keystone Academy -- classes are on. Administrators tell Eyewitness News traffic disruptions shouldn't affect most of their parents who live in the neighborhood.

"I'm relieved I think about winter time, how so many snow days, they have to stay home and make up days," said parent Joana Ntiamoah.

Between holidays and now the papal visit, the school district says students will have only been in class 11 days this month.

"It's just an unusual September for us."

School officials say students enjoy the days off now because by October -- its back to the books.

"Just get ready it's going to be a full month of school," said School District of Philadelphia spokesperson Fernando Gallard.

The school district tells Eyewitness News they had already planned for Friday in the original calendar. But students and teachers will now lose one day later in the year meant for professional development and also one day of spring break.

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