Posted on February 17, 2021
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Categories: News from Our Superintendent, News from SDP

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Dear Families,

I know that many of you are excited about your student’s return to school in person next week. However, I am writing to share the disappointing news that, due to ongoing third-party mediation requested by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, the start of our plans to slowly and safely begin phasing students and staff back into our schools will be delayed one week. We now plan to begin welcoming students back on Monday, March 1, starting with PreK-2 students whose families chose hybrid learning in the fall.

As parents and guardians, you know all too well that many of our students are struggling socially, emotionally and academically after engaging with their teachers and peers through a computer screen for almost a year. Safely returning our kids to their schools in phases is a crucial step to help restore the sense of community and connectedness that so many of our students want and need.

Right now, with extensive safety measures in place, I firmly believe our schools are ready to begin welcoming staff and students back for in-person learning.

Since March 2020, thousands of District staff have been working in schools to prepare them for safe in-person learning.

  • We’ve announced rapid testing plans for students and staff, and the start of COVID-19 vaccine availability for teachers and other staff as two additional layers of safety in our multilayered health and safety plan.
  • We’ve invested $65 million in personal protective equipment for students and staff, touchless hand sanitizer stations, plexiglass partitions, ventilation repairs and enhancements for fresh air flow, social distancing signage, and other layers of safety that are proven to keep the level of virus transmission in schools low. That’s in addition to $250 million to address lead and asbestos, and make other improvements.

I want to make clear that I will continue to work collaboratively to find common ground so we can safely open as many schools as possible as quickly as possible, and help our children and families move forward from the many tragic consequences of this pandemic.