It’s decision time for families of School District of Philadelphia students who will be in grades three to five and students with complex needs in grades six through eight. The selection window opens Tuesday and ends April 13.
“We all know that this is not the most effective way for our children to learn. This is why we have had a strong sense of urgency around and commitment to safely reopening our schools, just as many other schools and school districts have already done locally and nationally,” said William R. Hite Jr., superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia.
Building readiness reviews by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) have now been completed for the remaining 23 schools that will open for in-person learning as part of the second phase of the district’s Hybrid Learning Plan. All schools supporting this plan have been cleared for in-person learning.
For Phase II, students in grades three through five and students with complex needs in grades six through eight whose families select the hybrid learning model would transition to a mix of in-person and digital learning each week, based on an assigned schedule, beginning Monday, April 26.
All staff supporting grades three through eight will return to school buildings April 12.
The district’s Phase II Learning Model Selection Survey opens Tuesday, allowing families with students in grades three to five and students with complex needs in grades six through eight the opportunity to opt into hybrid learning or remain 100% digital. The selection window will close April 13.
Families selecting hybrid learning will be contacted by their child’s school by April 19 regarding next steps and will be scheduled to start hybrid learning the week of April 26, based on an assigned schedule that will safely limit the number of students in schools each day and help maintain social distancing throughout the day.
Students whose families do not complete the survey by April 13 will remain in 100% digital learning. Families choosing the hybrid learning for their child can return to 100% digital learning at any time.
“We are excited to offer the in-person learning opportunities that so many of our families want and need. Despite the heroic work of our educators, many of our students have struggled academically and others are suffering feelings of isolation after having to sit before a computer screen for nearly a year,” Hite said.
School district spokeswoman Christina Clark also said that an announcement would be made this week about possible summer learning for those grades not yet outlined in the reopening process.
Also, the nation’s top health agency is no longer recommending daily disinfection of schools to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance Monday, saying disinfecting chemicals like ammonia and bleach need be used only within 24 hours after an infected person has been there.
Last summer, the agency recommended strong disinfecting chemicals be used daily to prevent the spread of the virus in classrooms. Earlier this year, the CDC posted documents meant to de-emphasize disinfection on such a regular schedule, but Monday’s guidance more clearly erased the daily recommendation.
The updated guidance applies to homes, schools, and other settings that are not hospitals or health-care facilities.