Philadelphia students get day off before pope's September visit because of street closures

Public school students in Philadelphia will get a day off before Pope Francis comes to town.

District spokesman Fernando Gallard (gah-YARD') said Friday street closures taking effect Sept. 25 will make it too difficult to get to class.

Also, heavy traffic is anticipated ahead of the pontiff's two public appearances that weekend. More than 1.5 million pilgrims are expected to converge on the city.

Philadelphia is hosting the World Meeting of Families starting Sept. 22. The international gathering for Roman Catholics focuses on strengthening family bonds.

The pope will attend the closing festival of the conference on Sept. 26. The next day, he will celebrate an outdoor Mass.

He also will visit New York and Washington, D.C.