Calling the parade Thursday for the Super Bowl champion Eagles "a once-in-a-lifetime event," Superintendent William Hite has decided to close all city schools and administrative offices that day.
"We have decided to give our students, teachers and their families the chance to witness history," Hite said in a statement.
Hite is also running a campaign to emphasize regular school attendance, so his statement also says: "I want to remind every student, parent and guardian that attending school is absolutely essential."
The campaign, for both students and teachers, is called "attendance heroes," so Hite also said: "Just like the Eagles were football heroes on Sunday, I want all of our students to be attendance heroes every day."
He admonished everyone not to turn the festivities into a long weekend. "I want to see everyone in school, on time and ready to learn on Friday," he said.
School District spokesman Lee Whack said that logistics dictated taking this action. Several schools are directly on the parade route, which will run from Pattison Avenue in South Philadelphia to the Art Museum. Many middle and high school students rely on SEPTA to get to school, and school buses criss-cross the city transporting thousands of younger students to schools that are not within walking distance of their homes.
With two million people potentially expected to attend the parade, students' ability to get to school on time would likely be disrupted.
In 2008, for the parade after the Phillies won the World Series, schools were not closed.
Hite, who was a running back in college at Virginia Tech, also thanked the Eagles, who have a foundation that contributes tens of thousands of dollars to schools in the city and region. The team organizes programs such as Coach of the Week in high schools. The Eagles Youth Partnership has a bookmobile that travels to schools, shelters and recreation centers, an eye mobile that visits neighborhoods and gives free eye exams to children, dispenses top achiever awards to students, and has a chess program.
"On behalf of the students and staff of the School District of Philadelphia, thank you to everyone associated with the Eagles for the difference you make in our schools," the statement said. "You have been a stellar example for Philadelphia's students and we really appreciate your steadfast commitment to education."