School Year 2020-2021: Advancing Education Safely

District News & Updates

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Returning to In-Person Learning…Safely

Returning to In-Person Learning…Safely Plan

The District’s plan to slowly phase in the option for hybrid learning is a critical milestone as we strive to meet the many diverse needs of our students and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our plan prioritizes the health and safety of our students and staff as well as the needs of our families while offering a mix of in-person and digital remote learning for students. Here are some highlights:

  • A Slow, Phased Approach – the plan will phase in groups of students slowly, beginning with PreK-2 students, as long as monitoring of school health and safety practices and COVID-19 conditions support it is safe to do so.
  • Family Choice – during each phase in, impacted families will first have time to learn about and understand their options. Then they will be able to choose hybrid learning or all digital remote learning for their child.
  • Sustaining teacher-student relationships – our goal — as much as possible — is for students to continue with their current teachers whether they choose hybrid or 100% digital learning. *We realize that some teachers may not be able to safely teach in person. In those cases, a different teacher will be assigned to teach the class. 
  • A Staggered Schedule – hybrid learning students will attend school on a staggered schedule (i.e. AA/BB) to limit the number of students in school buildings each day and help maintain social distancing requirements.

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In-person learning opportunities will better meet the increasing needs of our students, especially our youngest learners and those with complex needs — and it’s the right thing to do. But resuming in-person learning safely will challenge all of us in new ways. We will need to self-screen daily, wear masks, and follow health and safety protocols that will help protect everyone’s well being. And, as staffing levels, school capacity constraints and rates of COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia evolve, so too will our plans, requiring that we remain flexible. At any time, the Health Department may require us to halt our plans OR temporarily close a classroom, school or the entire District to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.

I know that together we can rise to meet these challenges, just as we’ve done with every challenge we’ve faced since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Superintendent Hite

Hybrid Learning Selection Process

**NOTE: Only Pre-K – 2nd grade families need to make a selection during this first selection period. 

First selection period October 26 – 30, 2020.
If no selection is made, your child will remain 100% digital.

The School District will begin offering families the option to transition to a mix of in-person and digital remote learning (hybrid learning) for students, but only if the Philadelphia Health Department and our school readiness efforts support it is safe to do so.

This learning option will roll out to families slowly and in-phases, starting with ALL PreK through second grade students, including ELL students and  those with complex needs. This phasing allows us to carefully monitor health and safety practices in schools and ensure that COVID-19 conditions support continued in-person learning.  As we plan for in-person learning, there are many factors that will influence how, when and if we can proceed with in-person learning. The Quick Guide below provides information to help you make the right selection for your family. Please consider this information carefully as you make your selection.

Download the Hybrid Learning Selection Guide:
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Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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

Yes meals will continue to be distributed. Visit THIS PAGE for the most up-to-date information.

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 building improvements, during this period of closure?

Continuing to make much-needed environmental and capital improvements in our schools remains a top priority.

Since March, we have invested $264 million to safely accelerate our school improvement efforts and prepare for the safe return of students to school buildings. This includes:

●      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 supporting our early literacy efforts

●      24 paint and plaster projects, bringing our total number of certified lead safe schools to 110

●      And ventilation assessments and window repairs

Starting the school year with all students learning remotely also allowed us to remove or address asbestos in an additional 28 schools.

We will continue to safely advance our capital and environmental improvement work until all of our students and staff members have the learning and work spaces they need and deserve.

Learn more HERE

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

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.

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.

How will the hybrid model work?

To further support safe school environments, our goal is for most schools to follow an AA/BB Schedule where ½ of the in-person students would attend schools in-person on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the other half on Thursdays and Fridays. This staggered scheduling limits the number of students in school buildings each day and helps maintain social distancing in all spaces throughout the day.

Teachers will provide direct instruction to all students either via in-person learning or via livestream.

● Hybrid students will attend school in person 2x/wk and engage remotely via livestream on the days they are home.
● Digital students will receive instruction via live stream daily.
● During independent practice, hybrid students at home AND digital students will log off of their computers and complete assignments. In-person students will complete assignments in class.
● Small Group instruction occurs throughout the week. Teachers will pull in-person students and some digital students into virtual small groups while the other students work independently.

What factors could affect how, when and if we can proceed with in-person learning with the hybrid model?

Flexibility and patience will be key to moving forward. Many factors will influence how, when and if we can proceed with in-person learning.

● IF a significant number of teachers are unable to teach in person due to health or other considerations, hybrid learning may no longer be feasible OR many students may not remain with their current teachers.
● IF a school cannot maintain safe social distancing requirements with an AA/BB schedule, it will have to shift to a different schedule that better meets their needs.
● IF a vast majority of families choose to remain 100% digital, hybrid learning may not be feasible.
● AND COVID-19 conditions are constantly changing, sometimes very quickly. At any time, PDPH may require us to halt our plans OR temporarily close a classroom, part or all of a school, or the entire District to help minimize the spread of COVID-19. In these cases, students will immediately shift to digital learning from home until it is safe to resume their in-person schedules.

When does Phase 1 start?

November 30th.

How to I choose either the Hybrid or all virtual option?

From October 26 to October 30, PreK-2 families only can make a selection for hybrid learning or all digital learning.

If you do not make a selection, your student will remain in all digital learning.

Does Phase 1, which includes PreK-2 students, include ELL students and those with complex needs?

Yes all students in those grades, including those with English Language Learners and students with complex needs.

How do we define students with complex needs?

Complex needs includes students with low incidence disabilities, who are intellectually disabled, receive life skills supports, are visually impaired, deaf/hard hearing, receive multiple disability support, are autistic and/or on autistic spectrum with significant supports including language supports and physical support.

When will additional grades start in-person learning?

Phase 2, Students with Complex Needs in Grades 3-12, is tentatively planned for January.

Phase 3, 9th Grade Students and CTE students, is tentatively planned for end of January, beginning of February.

The order and timing of additional students and grades is TBD.

If I choose Hybrid, can I choose whether my child is on an AA or BB schedule?

No, it will be assigned at the school level based on the number of families who choose the hybrid model.

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 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.

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.

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

Yes. More details will come from your students’ schools.

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 be handled by each school and according to the most current safety standards.

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.

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 has our facilities team done to prepare schools for reopening?

OUR FACILITIES TEAM HAS BEEN FULLY TRAINED IN ENHANCED CLEANING STANDARDS USING EPA-REGISTERED CLEANING SUPPLIES — AND THEY STARTED IMPLEMENTING THEM THIS SUMMER. ONCE STUDENTS RETURN, THE ENTIRE SCHOOL WILL BE THOROUGHLY CLEANED AND DISINFECTED AT THE END OF EACH DAY, IN PREPARATION FOR THE NEXT DAY.

How will meals be handled when schools reopen in November?

To support health and safety during meal times, students will start out eating breakfast and lunch in their classrooms.

In some cases, cafeterias  like this one will be set up with self-serve stations where students will safely pick up prepackaged meals and utensils, and then return to the classroom to enjoy their meal. In other cases, food service workers will serve students, who will then take the meal back to the classroom or meals will be delivered directly to classrooms.

Cafeteria workers will follow enhanced cdc food preparation and safety guidelines – including wearing face masks and gloves at all times, wearing hair nets, and washing their hands frequently.

In all cafeterias, a touchless hand sanitizer station will be at the door, and students will be encouraged to use them on their way in and out. And, as an added safety measure, floor arrows will direct orderly traffic flow in the cafe.

When students are able to eat in the cafeteria, tables will be marked to designate where students can safely sit to ensure proper social distancing. Once the lunch period is over, the entire group of students will exit the cafeteria so all tables, chairs, benches, serving lines and high touch surfaces can be thoroughly cleaned before the next lunch period begins.

What will the protocol be for classrooms, when schools reopen in November?

In classrooms, where students will spend most of their time, doors will remain open as much as possible to promote good ventilation and help avoid touching door knobs.

Every classroom  has been evaluated to determine the maximum number of students and staff who can be in the room while maintaining safe ventilation standards and social distancing. There will be a sign outside of each room, showing that number.

Desks will be arranged and marked to support the right number of people in the room and to ensure proper social distancing. If the classroom has tables, seats at the table will be marked to ensure social distancing.

Every classroom will have cleaning supplies. Students and teachers together will use these to help keep desks, tables, chairs, and other high touch surfaces clean throughout the school day.

What will the protocol be for bathrooms, when schools reopen in November?

We are taking extra precautions in bathrooms.

Signage to remind students of health and safety protocols will be clearly posted. To maintain social distancing, students will not be able to use sinks or urinals that are immediately next to each other. Where numerous sinks or urinals are lined up in a row, every other unit will be  clearly marked to indicate that it cannot be used.

All bathroom stalls are safe to use because they have built in partitions.

High touch surfaces like toilets, faucets and stall handles, soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers will be disinfected at least every four hours.

And of course, everyone must wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before leaving the bathroom.

What are the protocols for entryways, hallways and offices?

To minimize direct face-to-face interaction and two-way traffic flow, many schools will use one door for entering and a different door for exiting. In other schools where that’s not possible, traffic in entryways and exitways will move in one direction at any given time.

Touchless hand sanitizer stations will be available for use inside every entrance.
As students continue into the hallways, touchless hand sanitizer stations will be available at each end.

Hallways are full of “high touch surfaces” like, lockers and door knobs. These surfaces will be disinfected at least every 4 hours during the day.

Drinking fountains like this will be turned off.  But hydration stations have touchless bottle fillers — which will remain on so students can safely fill up their personal water bottles.

There will also be signs on the hallway walls to remind everyone of proper health and safety protocols.
At the main office, doors should remain open as much as possible during the day to minimize touching door knobs and to promote good ventilation.

Outside the office, there will be a sign showing the maximum number of people safely allowed in the room.

There will be a hand sanitizer station at the door and signage to promote health and safety practices.

Inside, plexiglass partitions have been installed to further promote safety.

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.

How are classrooms being fitted with technology to support the return to classrooms this fall?

Ensuring that students remain with the teachers who have taught, cared for and supported them since the beginning of the school year has been one of our top planning priorities. Our students and families deserve that stability, whether they  return to school on a hybrid schedule or continue with all digital learning,

So we have invested nearly $6 million  in technology like this (point to tech) that will allow teachers — who will be teaching from their classrooms — to livestream their lessons. That means they will be able to teach students who are at school in-person and students logged in remotely, at the same time.

This investment in our students and schools is the right thing to do. It helps us to more easily shift from hybrid to digital learning if covid-19 conditions change in a classroom, a school or more broadly. And it will help to keep all of our young people engaged in learning throughout this school year.

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 students in hybrid learning continue to receive meals for the entire week?

Students will receive grab-and-go meals for their fully digital days on the last day of their in-person learning each week.

That means, a student learning in person on Monday and Tuesday will pick up meals for Wed-Fri at school on Tuesday. A student learning in person Thursday and Friday will pick up additional meals at the end of the day Friday.

How will meals be served in schools during in-person learning?

Students will enjoy their breakfast and lunch meals in their classrooms while at school.

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.

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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 280,000 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.