Important Driver Shortage and Health & Safety Updates
October 1, 2021
Dear School District of Philadelphia Families,
As we begin this next month of school, we wanted to share an update on the driver shortage challenges we continue to face, and the extra measures we are taking to support school safety.
Trash Collection at Schools
As you know, the driver shortage has impacted the service quality of the trash collection vendor responsible for emptying school dumpsters, resulting in significant overflow trash at many of our schools. In addition to working with the city to ensure access to dumpsters by removing illegally parked vehicles and using our maintenance staff to temporarily relocate excess trash to additional dumpsters placed throughout the city, we have now hired five additional vendors who are focused on keeping areas around dumpsters clutter-free. And we’re happy to report that our original trash collection vendor expects to be back to full service capacity by October 15th to further support our cleanup efforts. We will continue working to identify additional trash collection vendors to help minimize any future risk of trash buildup, and support clean and healthy schools.
The driver shortage continues to significantly disrupt our student transportation services as well as those of schools and other industries across the nation. Unfortunately, it is clear that this is not just a short-term issue, but a long-term one that will soon require us to make some difficult choices so we can provide reliable service to the students we are able to serve with our limited resources. In the meantime, we are continuing to explore all possible options. If you are able, please consider enrolling in our Parent Flat Rate Program which pays $150-$300 per month to eligible families who choose to transport their children to and from school. Parents already enrolled in the program can expect to receive their first payment in November.
Health & Safety
September 30th marked the deadline for the School Board’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for District staff. Starting Monday, October 4th, all fully vaccinated staff will continue to get tested once a week, while those who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated will be required to undergo testing twice a week.
The vaccine mandate and expanded testing for staff who are not fully vaccinated are just two of the multiple layers of safety in place to support the wellbeing of everyone in our schools and offices. You can help support healthy schools by:
- reminding your children to wear their masks and wash their hands frequently,
- keeping your child at home if they are sick or have been in contact with anyone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19,
- submitting your child’s proof of vaccination to our Office of Student Health Services at firstname.lastname@example.org to help us better determine who may need to quarantine or not in the future,
- and getting vaccinated, if you or your child age 12 or older are unvaccinated. You can find more information about the vaccine and where to go to get vaccinated at phila.gov and at www.vaccines.gov.
We’ll share more updates soon. Thank you for being a great partner in your child’s education.
The School District of Philadelphia
Office of Communications