A Holiday Message to our Families from Superintendent Hite
December 21, 2021
Dear School District of Philadelphia Parents and Families,
I first want to say thank you for all you have done to support healthy schools as we’ve welcomed students back in person this school year. For nearly two years, our young people have experienced the unimaginable. Surrounding them with caring educators and social and emotional supports in safe and familiar school environments is a vital part of helping them through these challenging times. We remain committed to keeping our school doors open – as long as we can do so safely.
As the holiday season approaches and new variants such as Delta and Omicron evolve, we must all be extra vigilant in doing our part to help keep ourselves and those around us safe. Here’s what each of us can do to limit the spread of the coronavirus and support healthy schools:
✅ Get a flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine or booster if you haven’t yet done so. The vaccine is now available for everyone five and older. Visit www.vaccines.gov to find a vaccine or booster location near you. Or call 215-685-5488 if you have questions about vaccination.
✅ Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth when in indoor public places and outdoors where there is a high risk of COVID-19 transmission, such as crowded events or large gatherings. For everyone’s safety, starting in January, students and staff who do not comply with mask wearing requirements in schools will be sent home for the day.
✅ Get tested, it’s free – we are asking everyone in our schools and offices to get tested prior to spending time with family and friends over the holidays and prior to returning to schools to ensure you are COVID free when we reopen, especially if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have had close contact with some who has COVID-19. To make it easier, all SDP testing sites will remain open for staff and student testing from 9am-6pm, Monday through Friday during the winter break:
- South Philadelphia High School (2101 S. Broad St)
- Samuel Fels (5500 Langdon St)
- Overbrook High School (5898 Lancaster Ave)
- MLK High School (6100 Stenton Ave)
- Thomas Edison High School (151 West Luzerne St)
- Northeast High School-new (1601 Cottman Ave, corner of Glendale and Bleigh Ave).
As always, please stay home if you test positive and report any positive cases to the COVID Response Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking forward to 2022, we will no doubt face new challenges and uncertainties that will require all of us to be flexible. At this time, we are planning to resume full in-person learning when school resumes for students on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. However, if COVID cases surge over the holidays, we may receive new guidance from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH). We will continue to follow PDPH’s guidance on school operations, and keep you informed of any changes.
As a reminder, all District schools and administrative offices will be closed December 24th through January 2nd. We know this time of year can be especially difficult for many people. Please visit phila.gov to find food or meal distribution sites in Philadelphia or call the Philly Hopeline at 1-833-PHL-HOPE if you or your child would like free counseling services.
From my family to yours, have a joyful and safe holiday and a Happy New Year! See you in 2022.
Dr. William Hite