School Year 2020-2021: Advancing Education Safely

A Letter from the Superintendent

Dear School District of Philadelphia Community,

As we look ahead, we are approaching a school year that will look and feel unlike any other. We know that COVID-19 conditions in Philadelphia and the surrounding area will continue to evolve. That means the guidance we must follow from city, state and federal health authorities will also evolve — sometimes very quickly. This is our new reality. We must all be prepared for it.

We have a fundamental responsibility to educate our students continuously throughout the school year, and we are fully committed to doing so safely, thoughtfully, and with equity and facts guiding our decision making. School Year 2020-2021: Advancing Education Safely is our plan to deliver uninterrupted high-quality instruction to ALL students while:

  • maintaining healthy and safe environments for everyone
  • supporting the many needs of our students, families and staff as we are able,
  • and adapting quickly to changing COVID-19 conditions

Click here to read more

<strong>In mid-July, after careful consideration, the School District revised its reopening plan for the 2020-2021 school year. </strong>The school year will start on Wednesday, September 2, 2020, allowing extra time for teachers to deepen their skills to provide students with engaging digital instruction. <strong>Our schools will start the school year with all students learning remotely for the first marking period which ends November 17th. Students will then transition to the hybrid learning model, which is a mix of in-person and digital learning, as long as guidance from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and other indicators support that it is safe to do so.</strong> A 100% digital learning option will be available at that time, and we will continue to explore opportunities for students to be taught by teachers from their enrolled school. PreK students in District PreK programs will also receive digital instruction five days per week through the first marking period.

We know that the upcoming school year will be a challenging one for all of us. It will require our School District and the students and families we serve to be flexible as COVID-19 conditions continue to change. This “new normal” will not be simple or easy. But as I’ve said before, the best way to work through a crisis is together. Advancing education safely in the new school year will take each and every one of us doing our part. Together we can support a safe and successful school year for everyone.

District News & Updates

DISTRICT UPDATES

Choose your language below for District updates.
SHQIP | عربي | 汉语 | ខ្មែរ  | English | Français | Português | Русский | Español | Việt

Our Plan for a Safe and Successful School Year

Updated Reopening Plan Presentation

Our goal is to deliver high-quality instruction seamlessly to all students while maintaining the health and well-being of everyone involved — despite any changes in COVID-19 conditions. We recognize that while most of our students have been engaged in digital learning, students have been away from what they once knew as “school” for an extended amount of time. So we are preparing to thoughtfully address both the social-emotional and academic needs of our students.

Schools across our District will start the school year with all students learning remotely for the first marking period which ends November 17th. Students would then transition to a mix of in-person and digital learning as long as guidance from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and other indicators support that it is safe to do so.

More details are available in this LETTER FROM DR. HITE: Choose your language to download (add’l languages coming soon!):
SHQIP | عربي | 汉语 | ខ្មែរ  | English | Français | Português | Русский | Español | Việt

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: August 10

What is the plan for returning to school in Fall 2020?

After careful consideration, the School District is proposing changes to its reopening plan for the 2020-2021 school year.

The new plan proposes to start the school year with all students learning remotely for the first marking period which ends November 17th. Students would then transition to the hybrid learning model — which is a mix of in-person and digital learning, as long as guidance from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and other indicators support that it is safe to do so. A letter with more detailed information about the proposed plan was sent to the email address you have on file at your child’s school.

The Board of Education will consider the proposed changes at its meeting this Thursday, July 30 at 4 p.m.

What will the first day back to school be, in Fall 2020?

The District revised the first day of school for students to Wednesday, September 2, 2020. This allows for an additional week of professional development for our educators as they prepare for face-to-face and digital learning in this new environment. Any changes to COVID-19 conditions could further impact first-day timing.

How can I register for Kindergarten or 1st-12th grade for this fall?

We are currently developing a process for families to be able to register online.  Please continue to check back during the week of August 17th, for updates and announcements.

Please email the Office of Student Placement and Enrollment at osep@philasd.org with any questions or need for assistance in the meantime.

How will the District keep families informed of changes to the re-opening plan?

Regular Plan updates will be communicated through numerous methods including text, robocall, email, our District website (philasd.org/schoolstart2020), online FAQs and across District social media platforms.

If you haven’t already created or updated your Parent/Family Portal information, please do so to be sure you are receiving all communications. Details are HERE. We will also continue to provide updates via Superintendent Hite’s Facebook Live events every Wednesday at 3 p.m.

How will the District make decisions about whether to move to a hybrid model??

Decisions will be based on guidance from the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Education, and our own assessment of meeting the various milestones we have set for the District, in terms of safe social distancing and health protocols for students and staff.

What happens if you were applying for Digital Academy?

There is no Digital Academy for the first marking period. All students will be taught virtually by the teachers at their home school. We will revisit Digital instruction during the hybrid phase, later in September/early October.

What will happen when the District decides to return to in-person instruction? If parents do not feel safe or if their child has a preexisting condition, will an all-digital option be available?

There will be an all-virtual option for students who cannot come back in person safely.

Will meals continue to be provided to students in the virtual model?

Yes meals will continue to be distributed, likely in a similar fashion to the summer meal sites and schedules. More information will be posted as soon as we have it.

How can we afford to do more (more cleaning, more building enhancements etc), now, when money has always been an issue before?

The District has taken many measures to help offset some of the $60 million – $80 million in projected costs associated with COVID-19 response efforts, including: maintaining a hiring freeze for all non-essential positions, applying for COVID-19 grant funding, and exhausting our fund balance which serves as the District’s emergency fund.

We still need more funding support to help offset these costs and others that may be on the horizon. To learn more about how you can help the District secure additional funding support, visit philasd.org/fundourschools.

Is the District continuing to address issues like asbestos, during this period of closure?

Since the closure of our school buildings in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the District has accelerated its improvement efforts in its school buildings. We’ve invested nearly $264 million in improvements across 61 schools.

Learn more HERE

How will PreK be handled this fall?

District-operated PreK in District buildings will also operate remotely through November 17th.  Chromebooks are being purchased for students enrolled in District-operated PreK programs and will be distributed to our PreK families as soon as they are available so that preschoolers can receive daily digital instruction until the school buildings re-open for face-to-face instruction.  By implementing a daily schedule that provides opportunities for hands-on, independent activity as well as teacher-facilitated digital instruction at the whole group, small group and individual levels, no child will be expected to spend more than 90 minutes on screen on any day. Parents who want their preschool children to receive face-to-face instruction during this time will be referred to one of the District’s partner PreK providers for service. You can get more information about PreK options for the 2020-2021 school year by visiting  www.philasd.org/prek.

How did the District make decisions about returning to school in the fall?

Engaging families, students, staff, community members, health experts and leaders from across the city, state and country was an essential part of how we approached the development of this Plan. We received more than 35,000 responses to our District Re-Opening Survey and reviewed the more than 6,000 responses to the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers survey. We also received extensive input in other ways such as our online Feedback Form, Virtual Town Hall meetings and in meetings with other large urban schools districts from across the country. A Principal Advisory Board was also involved to ensure the voices and perspectives of our principals were heard.

Other contributors to this work include: Philadelphia Department of Public Health; PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Pennsylvania Department of Education; and City of Philadelphia leaders.

When do employees have to return to work at 440?

We are working on a plan for the phased return of 440 administrative staff which will be guided by our health and safety protocols. More information will be shared once the plan is finalized.

Will students be assessed when they come back to school in the fall?

We understand that our students have experienced a learning loss and that we need to get our students back on track and learning grade-level content. Data analysis of student achievement and rate of improved progress demonstrates a need to focus our instructional expectations and identify key assessments that will enable a response to intervention as quickly as possible to decrease gaps in learning.

 

At the start of the new school year, our educators will use District-assigned assessments in ELA and Mathematics and use school-based assessment options to assess students in content areas. The purpose of the assessments are to determine the class, group, and individual trends in skill/concept mastery, or lack thereof, as it aligns to grade-level standards for learning. The data will inform small group instruction, activation and connection to prior learning. A key component of this instructional design is observing and monitoring students’ learning, and making adjustments as needed. Students have the opportunity to reflect on their learning and teachers provide prompt class and small group feedback, and use formative assessments to inform instruction. The Office of Academic Supports will provide Pillars for Instruction that will include expectations and strategies for planning, assessment of students’ learning, classroom environment, and student engagement.

Will teachers take attendance in the upcoming school year?

All students are expected to attend school five days per week, whether face-to-face or digital, in alignment with state and School District regulations and requirements.

During both face-to-face and digital learning, teachers will mark student attendance. School-based and central office staff will actively identify students who are not regularly attending class and assist with addressing the barriers preventing each student’s attendance.

How can I find my student's Student ID?

The student ID is either a 7 or 8 digit number.

You can find this number:

  • on your student’s report card,
  • displayed on their student ID card,
  • by logging onto your child’s student portal account,
  • or by asking your child’s teacher.

If you have additional questions regarding how to access your child’s student ID number, please contact the Parent & Family Technology Support Hotline at 215-400-4444.

Since SDP will be all digital for the first marking period, does that mean that students will be taught by their regular school teachers?

Yes. More information about what the school day will look like will be available next week.

When we return to a hybrid model and we opt to remain virtual, will my student still have the same teachers?

When we transition to the hybrid model, we will continue to evaluate digital opportunities that prioritize students being taught by teachers in their enrolled school.

Will teachers be able to teach from their classrooms?

We are working towards that, yes. If classrooms and buildings are able to reach the milestones for safety, teachers will be allowed to teach from their classrooms.

Will there be opportunities for parent training to better support their child with virtual online learning?

Yes. We will be offering virtual training sessions for parents and families. We will share the schedule when available.

Will learning guides still be available for pickup?

Yes. Starting September 10th, hard copy lesson plans will be available for pickup on Thursdays at the School Districts meal distribution sites for students who lack technology or internet access. Click here to see a list of the Grab & Go meal distribution sites.

During the first marking period, how will services be provided for students with IEPs?

Students with IEPs will be able to access and benefit from digital instruction. Students with IEPs will have opportunities to engage with their peers, general education teachers, special education teachers, and related services providers, all as prescribed by their IEPs, and will have access to the digital supports that align with their IEPs.

What does the daily schedule look like for online learning? How long will the school day be?

Parents and families are encouraged to review this Day in the Life document to get an idea about how the daily schedule will look for students at each level (Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle and High School). Please note that these are only examples, and that exact schedules will vary by school. A list of the daily bell schedules by school can be found in the main menu at https://www.philasd.org/backtoschool.

How will our 8th grade students be handling school selection this fall? And are PSSA requirements being removed for this year, for special admits?

We know this is a topic many of our parents have questions about and we are working on answers. Please check back as more information becomes available.

Will students be able to pick up text books for the fall?

Yes. More details coming soon.

How will performing arts being handled?

All performing arts will be adapted for a virtual model.

How will PreK be handled this fall?

District-operated PreK in District buildings will also operate remotely through November 17th.  Chromebooks are being purchased for students enrolled in District-operated PreK programs and will be distributed to our PreK families as soon as they are available so that preschoolers can receive daily digital instruction until the school buildings re-open for face-to-face instruction.  By implementing a daily schedule that provides opportunities for hands-on, independent activity as well as teacher-facilitated digital instruction at the whole group, small group and individual levels, no child will be expected to spend more than 90 minutes on screen on any day. Parents who want their preschool children to receive face-to-face instruction during this time will be referred to one of the District’s partner PreK providers for service. You can get more information about PreK options for the 2020-2021 school year by visiting  www.philasd.org/prek.

How will the District approach the use of substitutes to account for the inevitable vacancies?

Kelly Services has been asked to hire more substitute teachers this year than in previous years to ensure we have adequate coverage both for day-to-day substitutes as well as potential long-term substitutes which may arise from people going out on extended leave.

Will there be student teachers for the 2020-21 school year?

Yes – student teachers are a critical part of our recruitment efforts. We deeply value our student teachers and want to ensure their continued presence to support our students.

While student teaching may occur remotely or on-site, the District is committed to working with our university partners to place student teachers.

Please note that universities must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the District to place student teachers. (The form can be found at the SDP website HERE) Principals will coordinate their student teacher schedules to ensure proper social distancing is possible.

Will there be any extracurricular activities when we return to school?

Extracurricular activities will occur in alignment with the A/B schedule and all health and safety protocols. Extracurriculars that involve students from different classrooms can continue only if social distancing and masking can be maintained during those activities.

Learn more on page 24 of the Plan.

Will my student be able to play sports this year?

The District is employing a Return to Play (RTP) plan that includes a phased-in approach to resuming scholastic athletic programming. Across the phases, there are mentions of high-, medium- and low-risk sports, which are categories the NFSH has developed.

Learn more on page 24 of the Plan.

Is there a scholarship database for seniors?

Yes. There is a scholarship search database on the College & Career Readiness website here. The website is updated often, as the District learns of new scholarship opportunities. Also, when students log into the Naviance platform (found at the website above) they are able to access additional databases with thousands of scholarship opportunities. For more information about or assistance with Naviance, please click here.

Finally, seniors who have additional questions or would like extra support should call the Senior Hotline at 215-400-4130 or email collegeandcareer@philasd.org. The hotline operates from 11AM to 1PM Tuesdays through  Thursdays and provides live support to students who are pursuing postsecondary opportunities by connecting them with their school-based counselors, guiding them through college enrollment or application paperwork, and assisting with completing FAFSA applications and/or verification. A language line is available to support non-English speakers.

Will students have the option of repeating the grades they are in?

We will handle requests on a case-by-case basis as we have done historically.

How will the District closure and lack of PSSA testing affect my school selection for the 2020-2021 school year?

There are many decisions to be made regarding school selection and we are currently in discussions with school principals. Right now, we know that attendance will not be a criteria for K-12 school selection for SY2020-2021. We will keep you informed as additional decisions are made. If you have a suggestion or idea, please email it to schoolselectionresponses@philasd.org.

Will the public have access to reports on school specific facilities improvement plans and progress, which was referenced at the last board meeting?

Yes. Please visit this website to view information on current school improvement projects and any resulting environmental reports.

Will the ventilation/air quality studies be made available to the public? If so, where?

Yes. Occupancy of spaces based on fresh air intake will be included in the readiness dashboard that will be shared with the public. We will post them as soon as they are available, so check back for the direct link.

What is being done about the asbestos problems in schools that were identified before COVID?

The School District has accelerated its asbestos abatement efforts while schools have been closed. Extensive environmental and capital improvements are happening this summer across more than 60. For information about what’s happening at your school, visit HERE. Note that if your school is not undergoing a project, it will not be listed on the website.

Who is receiving concerns about issues with District buildings at this time?

Please email covid19info@philasd.org with any issues or concerns with District buildings.

Will all students (current, new, PreK and K-12) be able to pick up Chromebooks if they need one this fall?

Yes. All students, including new, incoming students, who need Chromebooks will receive them. Some Chromebook Support Centers and hours are currently in operation on a limited schedule. Starting on August 17th, Chromebooks will be distributed 5 days a week from 9:00am-2:00pm at three Parent & Family Technology Support Centers.

Find more information, locations and times here.

Will my PreK or Kindergartener also receive a Chromebook?

Yes. All students, including incoming PreK and Kindergarteners, who need Chromebooks will receive them.

How can I get internet access?

Internet is provided by various companies for Philadelphia residents. Information on options can be found here, and we are working with these organizations to provide additional options.

And, the City of Philadelphia’s new PHLConnectED program was recently launched. PHLConnectED is available for families who do not have an internet connection in the home or are only connected with a cell phone. If you do not have an in-home internet connection or only have internet access through your cell phone, call the PHLConnectED hotline to learn more.

Just dial 2-1-1 and press option 1 to hear how you may qualify for the program.

I've heard about a low-cost internet option through the City- what is this program?

Yes, the City of Philadelphia’s new PHLConnectED program was recently launched. PHLConnectED is available for families who do not have an internet connection in the home or are only connected with a cell phone. If you do not have an in-home internet connection or only have internet access through your cell phone, call the PHLConnectED hotline to learn more.

Just dial 2-1-1 and press option 1 to hear how you may qualify for the program.

Internet is also provided by a variety of other companies for Philadelphia residents. Information on options can be found here, and we are working with these organizations to provide additional options.

Have additional questions?

There are many more questions and answers on our FAQ hub HERE.

What should I do with my Chromebook during the summer of 2020? Should I return it?

Please see the set of Questions and Answers below regarding the return of Chromebooks.

Question: The 2019-2020 academic school year ends on Friday, June 12, 2020.  Do I need to return my child’s Chromebook to the District?

Answer: If your student IS A SENIOR…

12th Grade students graduating on time:  12th grade students that have received confirmation that they are graduating on time are to return their Chromebooks either at the end of the school year or at the end of the summer.

The following are the Chromebook return options:

  • School Site Return: June 16-19, 2020 or August 12-19, 2020 (times to be provided by school) Please note: Due to Building Improvement projects at some high schools, seniors may not be able to reenter the school at this time. Your school can provide guidance.
  • Chromebook Dropoff Centers; on or before August 19th on any Monday or Wednesday 9:00 to 12:00 with the exception of July 6 and 8, 2020. Centers are: (a) Education Center, 440 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA  19130 or
    (b) Fitzpatrick Annex Building (located in the rear of Fitzpatrick Elementary School) 4101 Chalfont Drive, Philadelphia PA 19154

12th Grade students not graduating on time: 12th grade students that have been notified that they have to attend Summer Programs may  keep their Chromebook through the end of the Summer Program.  Once students have completed the summer program, they should return the Chromebook to the Education Center, 440 N. Broad Street or the Fitzpatrick Annex 4101 Chalfont Drive, Philadelphia PA 19154 on any Monday or Wednesday by August 19, 2020 anytime between 9:00 am and 12:00 pm with the exception of July 6 and 8, 2020.

Answer: If your student is NOT A SENIOR, the answer is, no. You may keep your child’s Chromebook, until the first day of the new academic year.

Question: What if my child is attending a different District school?
Answer: Your child should bring back the Chromebook to the new school on the first day of the new academic school year.

Question: What if my child is going to attend a Charter School, transferring to a private school or any other new school outside of the District?
Answer: If your child will be attending a Charter School, transferring to a private school or any other new school outside of the District, then you should return the Chromebook to either of the Chromebook Support sites on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:00 am-12:00 pm, with the exception of July 6 to July 8, 2020.

Education Center, 440 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA  19130 or
Fitzpatrick Annex Building (located in the rear of Fitzpatrick Elementary School) 4101 Chalfont Drive, Philadelphia PA 19154

Question: What are the appropriate activities that my child can engage in while using the Chromebook?
Answer: Engaging in learning activities is  intended and appropriate. Please review the District’s Acceptable Use Policy with your child to ensure that they  know the guidelines for appropriate actions and online behavior.

(https://www.philasd.org/schoolboard/wp-content/uploads/sites/884/2017/07/815-Acceptable-Use-of-Internet-Technology-and-Network-Resources.pdf)

Please note that dates and times are scheduled to change based upon state and local guidelines due to COVID 19.

What if I my Chromebook is damaged or not working properly? What if I have questions about how to use my Chromebook?

You can bring your Chromebook to one of our Support Centers for help. Hours are updated here.

Resources for using your Chromebook are also on that page.

Questions about Chromebooks can also be directed to our Parent & Family Technology Support hotline:
T: 215-400-4444
F: 215-400-4445
You can also email your questions to FamilyTechSupport@philasd.org.

What do I do if my child’s Chromebook gets stolen?

Please report the Chromebook theft  to the Philadelphia Police Department and obtain a police report.

If I have multiple children, will I get a device for each child?

Yes. Each K-12 student who is enrolled in a District school and needs a device for learning at home will receive one. If you are fortunate and have computer and internet access at home to meet your child’s online learning needs, we ask that you please reserve this program for those who do not.

Can remote learning be done on an iPad or tablet?

Yes. Students and families can use any device that can provide access to Google classroom, access to a microphone and camera, and a keyboard. Resources for using various devices can be found here.

Are resources available to help students and families use their Chromebooks and other devices (iPads, tablets, etc.) for remote learning?

Yes. Instructional steppers for various devices (and translations) can be found HERE.

What accessibility features are available to support students in using their Chromebooks?

A full list of accessibility featured for Google G-suite, including Google Chrome and Chromebooks, can be found here.

What are the safety guidelines for the distribution of Chromebooks?

All School District and City personnel involved in the distribution of Chromebooks are volunteers. They will follow strict safety guidelines designed to ensure the health and well-being of our staff, students and families.

These safety guidelines include:

  • wearing gloves and masks
  • remaining six (6) feet apart from all individuals as Chromebooks are being prepared, organized and distributed
  • wiping down all surfaces before and after contact: Chromebooks, tables, pens, devices, door handles etc.
  • where possible, use of disposable pens for one-time use, and clipboards to support social distance while forms are completed
  • walkup options are offered with minimal contact involved, and where possible, drive-up  options offered

Why is the effort to provide Chromebooks vital for Philadelphia students?

In Philadelphia, many households have access to in-home computers and internet services to help expand learning for their children beyond the classroom while many still do not.

A 2019 District Survey found that:

  • 45% of students in grades 3-5 have access to the internet from a computer at home
  • 56% of students in grades 6-8 have access to the internet from a computer at home
  • 58% of students in grades 9-12 have access to the internet from a computer at home

What Mental Health, Trauma and Social-Emotional supports will be available for students and staff?

Since school doors were last open, our students and staff have experienced isolation; separation from friends, teachers, and colleagues; illness or loss of loved ones; and disruption of the familiar routines that made them feel cared for and safe. We have also experienced the pain and division caused by racial injustice and its harms to our nation and community. For all of these reasons and more, this is not a normal school year.

We will launch a Healing Together initiative that is designed to address the needs of our students, staff, and families in the wake of this sustained trauma. Healing Together encompasses an intensive focus in four areas: 1) mental health and trauma; 2) social-emotional learning; 3) relationships and community; and 4) adult wellness.

Learn more about our plans for Meeting the Mental Health, Trauma and Social-Emotional Needs of Students and Staff on pages 12-13 of the Plan.

How do I talk to my children about coronavirus if they are showing signs of stress?

With so much information being shared about coronavirus, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. These and other resources are available in the Resources section of the School District website at https://www.philasd.org/coronavirus to help you talk to your child about coronavirus and manage any stress you or your loved ones may be feeling:

Do you know of any health insurance programs for school-age children?

If your children need health insurance, either because they never had it or because your benefits have changed during the COVID crisis, our partners at PCCY can help you apply. Click HERE for information.

How does the District plan to support families this fall?

The current COVID-19 pandemic has affected the families and communities the District serves in myriad ways – from widespread unemployment and food insecurity to the illness and deaths of loved ones. When it comes to education during these challenging circumstances, families need access to information and learning ideas, ways to understand the information, and ways to take action on it to support their children.

During this time of uncertainty and change, the Office of Family Engagement will provide key resources to help families including virtual trainings, support groups, a help line and more.

What are my options for childcare?

The City of Philadelphia is partnering with community-based organizations to open Access Centers that will support Philadelphia children and their families this fall during digital-learning time. Access Centers will be free of charge and located in neighborhoods to serve Philadelphia’s most vulnerable children.

For more information, review this FAQ document or visit the city’s website: http://www.phila.gov/AccessCenters.

How does the District plan to support teachers and other staff this fall?

All District staff will participate in various training and professional development sessions to support a safe and student-centered school start. These sessions will ensure all school staff members have the knowledge to follow and promote safety guidelines, as well as support students socially, emotionally and academically.

Another important aspect of supporting our workforce is to ensure that our staff have access to resources that support their physical and mental well-being. Individuals have faced many difficulties in the past few months, confronting issues with food insecurity, trauma, post-traumatic stress, illness and loss of loved ones and more. It is essential that we have multiple options, opportunities, and offerings for employees to feel supported, access needed resources, and address their mental health needs.

See pages 26-27 of The Plan for more details on our plans for supporting our staff.

Where can employees find more information and resources?

School District employees can visit this page to find important back-to-school resources.

School District employees should also review this employee-only FAQ page for more information.

Will healthy meals be available for students through during digital learning?

Yes. The School District of Philadelphia, several charter schools, and the Philadelphia Housing Authority are coordinating with the City’s Office of Children and Families to provide free, nutritious grab-and-go meals for all Philadelphia children and youth while digital learning is taking place. Sixty-three of the sites are School District of Philadelphia buildings. You can find detailed information regarding locations and schedules of the meal sites HERE.

Who qualifies for these meals?

All children and youth are eligible for free meals and no ID is required.

When and where can I pick up meals?

Grab-and-go meals for our students will continue to be available across the City through the first marking period. Current locations and times are available HERE but they may change for summer so please check the link often.

Currently, every Thursday, from 9 a.m. to noon, you will be able to pick up a box of 5 breakfast meals, five lunch meals and a ½ gallon of milk for each student in your family. Each box weighs six pounds so we encourage you to bring a wheeled cart or some other way to easily carry the boxes if you are picking up meals for multiple students in your household. Social distancing, the use of masks and gloves, and other safety efforts will continue to be practiced to ensure everyone’s safety as meals are distributed.  Thank you for supporting this important safety effort.

More information about the School District’s meal distribution sites can be found on the School District’s website HERE, and all information about the City of Philadelphia’s meal distribution, including an interactive map of all meal sites, can be found HERE.

How were the grab-and-go meal sites selected?

The School District and the City collaborated to intentionally and thoughtfully select sites that could conveniently serve everyone in Philadelphia. We worked to ensure that:

  • we accounted for population density and walkability so that there was a site that was close and convenient to everyone.
  • the sites had cafeterias located on the first floor so that we would be able to safely and easily transport food without having to travel up and down stairs.
  • the sites were equipped with the proper refrigeration and freezers to ensure the quality and prevent the waste of the large amounts of food that we intend to provide.

How is the food being served with safety in mind?

Each School District grab-and-go site is staffed by food services employees who are trained in proper hygiene and cleanliness practices. In addition to following the social distancing and hygiene recommendations from health experts including covering your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and regular hand washing, they are also required to wear appropriate food service attire including hairnets and gloves. All food serving stations and surfaces are regularly sanitized using a disinfectant solution that is proven effective against coronavirus, and sanitizing wipes and gel is used in all packing and distribution areas.

Does each child have to be physically present at the meal site to receive the 6 meals per child? Can a mother of six school-aged children pick up 36 meals without any of her children present?

Children do not have to be present at the meal distribution sites. Family members can pick up enough meals for all children in their households. Given the numbers of meals being provided, we strongly encourage families to bring a backpack or reusable bag with them to carry the items.

Where is my P-EBT card; I need to update my address for my P-EBT card?

The P-EBT program is not a School District initiative. All inquiries regarding P-EBT, including incorrect benefit amount, lack of benefit for every child, and/or reports of lost or damaged P-EBT Cards should be emailed to ra-pwpebtquestions@pa.gov, or submitted using THIS form.

For additional information you may also want to check the PA Department of Human Services website HERE.

How can I donate food or money for food?

The School District of Philadelphia is grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support to help provide healthy meals for students while schools are closed. We ask that all food and monetary donations for food be directed to Philabundance at philabundance.org.

How do I serve a legal Complaint/Writ during COVID-19 closures?

Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, The School District of Philadelphia’s Office of General Counsel is closed to the public and our staff are working remotely. For information on service of legal complaints/writs during Covid-19 closures, please go here.

How can I volunteer to help?

Those interested in volunteering should contact the Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service by visiting www.phila.gov. There you will find opportunities with nonprofits that are providing critical services.

District Hotlines

Support for general questions about the District
Available Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

SHQIP (Albanian)

عربي (Arabic)

汉语 (Chinese)

ខ្មែរ  (Khmer)

Français (French)

Português (Portuguese)

Русский (Russian)

Español (Spanish)

Việt (Vietnamese)

Resources

Milestones

Maintaining Vital Services & Supports

  • Healthy Meals – more than 4.3 million grab-and-go meals have been safely distributed through School District meal sites to ensure Philadelphia’s children maintain access to healthy meals.
  • Philly Hopeline ( 1-833-PHL-HOPE) — we partnered with Uplift Center for Grieving Children — the first sizeable partnership of its kind in the country — to offer expert counseling services and supports for students, parents and families who may be struggling with grief and loss.
  • Healing Together – we worked with trusted local partners and national experts to launch this nationally recognized initiative which focuses on supporting the mental health, trauma and social-emotional needs of our students, staff and families

Confronting the Digital Divide

  • Chromebooks – more than 99,000 Chromebooks were purchased and distributed to students who needed them for digital learning thanks to generous donations from Philadelphia philanthropists, foundations and companies.
  • Tech Support Centers & Hotlines for parents and families have been operating since March 2020 to support ongoing Chromebook pickup, repair and service needs.
  • PHLConnectED – this unprecedented partnership among the City of Philadelphia, Comcast and other internet providers, and the School District was launched to help connect 35,000 students who do not have in-home internet access or only have internet access through a mobile phone to reliable, high-speed internet.

Ensuring Continuity of Education

  • Learning Guides – within weeks of closing school buildings in March, more than 100,000 learning guides in core subject areas were created, printed and distributed so that every student across every grade level had equitable access to enrichment and learning.
  • Digital Learning – By May 2020, planned, teacher-led instruction began with new digital learning plans which were available online for easy access by families. The first four weeks of lesson plans for the 2020/2021 school year are complete and copies will be available at District meal sites.
  • Professional Development – our principals and teachers are actively engaging in more than 200 professional development sessions through November 2020 to strengthen their teaching and learning, community building and engagement practices in a digital environment.
  • Staffing – our ongoing recruiting efforts resulted in over 99% of teacher and principal roles being filled for the start of the school year — the highest levels ever.

Preparing for the Safe Return to School Buildings

  • Facility Improvements – Since the closure of our buildings in March 2020, we have invested $264 million in improvements, including:
    • The removal of over 250,000 feet of asbestos-containing material such as floor tiles and pipe insulation (the equivalent of five football stadiums)
    • 61 capital projects such as roof replacements, boiler replacements/repairs, HVAC and electrical system upgrades, and bathroom renovations
    • 147 classroom modernizations across 11 schools supporting our early literacy efforts
    • 24 paint and plaster projects, bringing our total number of Certified Lead Safe schools to 110
    • Guaranteed Energy Savings Act (GESA) projects at Gompers and Lincoln to manage and promote efficient energy use
    • Ventilation assessments and window repairs

Starting the new school year with all digital learning remotely has also allowed us to further expand our asbestos abatement and remediation efforts in 28 schools.

  • Health and Safety Protocols – we have developed and implemented extensive health and safety protocols based on Philadelphia Department of Public Health Department and CDC guidelines to promote healthy school and work environments. This includes: face mask/covering requirements for everyone, daily screenings before building entry, enhanced cleaning protocols and the use signage and floor markers to promote social distancing and healthy hygiene practices.

Video Presentations

Reopening Plan Presentation by Dr. Hite at July 30 Board of Education meeting

Presentation by Dr. Farley at July 23 Board of Education meeting

SEPTA presentation by Mr. Sauer at July 23 Board of Education meeting

Feedback

As we develop and refine our plans for the upcoming school year, your feedback is essential.

Return-to-School Survey Results

THANK YOU to the 36,313 students, families and staff who provided their input!

Watch Virtual Town Hall Sessions

District leaders share information about their planning efforts for the upcoming school year.