Philly plans to reopen some schools in February - WHYY

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The Philadelphia School District headquarters is located on North Broad Street. (Mark Henninger/Fantasy Numbers)

For the third time since the pandemic began, Philadelphia’s public school system has announced a plan to bring some students back to the classroom.

The Philadelphia School District announced on Wednesday that beginning February 22, some students from pre-kindergarten to grade 2 will return to their buildings twice a week, and all those who need to make the transition will report on February 8.

Approximately 120,000 students in Pennsylvania’s most university district have not chosen to study in person since March last year (more than ten months ago).

In a statement, Superintendent William Hayt said: “Some of our most vulnerable students, including young learners, are at risk of falling behind.” Escalation of violence and sense of isolation are both tragic consequences of the pandemic. It threatens the health and well-being of our young people. Restoring face-to-face learning opportunities is a key step to help restore the much-needed sense of familiarity, community, and connection between students and families. "


In August, it was strongly opposed by the community. The official gave up the second attempt

Because of rising

Case number.

In the second attempt, school leaders asked K-2 parents whether they want their children to go to school in person twice a week, or whether they want their children to only continue online learning.


. These families will be eligible to return in person on February 22. Families that choose to be fully virtual or that did not respond to the survey in November will have to remain fully virtual until “in the future we can gradually attract more students,” the region said in a press release.

In a letter obtained by WHYY, the chairman of the union stated that it is “stupid” to reopen school before all employees are vaccinated.

1 week ago

The district stated that it has conducted a ventilation analysis to determine which rooms can be safely occupied. Among other mitigation strategies, it touted a "list" of PPE and Plexiglas barriers.

For students who choose to return, most schools will follow a staggered AA/BB schedule. Then, the opt-in family can return to the completely virtual school at any time, but cannot change the course back to the classroom at will.

A key question is whether employees will support the plan.

The Philadelphia Teachers’ Federation (PFT) recently stated that

Before reopening the school. The union earlier signed an agreement to support opening without the use of vaccines under certain conditions, but said that with the emergence of new strains of COVID-19 and vaccination, it has changed its position.

City officials say it will take at least a few weeks before teachers can start vaccinating, which means

. However, the schedule is very vague.

Whether the city can give priority to vaccinating staff working with young students is still inconclusive.

When asked whether waiting for teachers to be fully vaccinated might endanger the resumption of personal learning this school year, Haite quickly answered "Yes."

He said that the slow introduction of vaccines and the reluctance of some staff to get the injections may delay the timetable for full vaccination. Although there is no official information on when to start vaccination.

Jerry Jordan, the head of the Philadelphia Teachers' Association, disagreed with this assessment. He hopes to speed up the pace of vaccination under the leadership of the new federal government to ensure that staff can get the vaccine before the end of the school year.

There are already some administrators working in Philadelphia schools. An official said Wednesday that some of them returned positive tests, but after follow-up tests, all of them were considered false positives.

The region will not compulsory vaccination for employees, but will encourage qualified employees to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Haite said on Wednesday that if the district can successfully bring back certain PreK-2 students, the next batch of students returning will be those with "complex needs." The group includes English learners and learners with special education programs. Then there are students enrolled in vocational and technical education courses, which often rely heavily on hands-on activities.

Currently, there is no timetable or plan to return general education students in grades 3 to 12.

Heite said: "We want to see how this will proceed."

Although most American school districts have some form of face-to-face learning,

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the vast majority of people have been completely virtual. Many of these areas, such as Philadelphia, are in large cities with older school buildings.

Scientists have been exploring from the earliest days of the pandemic to determine how much virus risk an open school will bring.

Dr. CHOP pointed out that evidence in Rhode Island suggests that going to school in person can actually reduce the risk of a child contracting the coronavirus.

A recent pair of studies conducted by scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed:

. Scientists at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia suggested that the school reopen, a leading researcher said

In a wider community than they are. And Pennsylvania

It can be said that officials can even open elementary schools in areas with the highest levels of COVID transmission.

Contrary to the high cost of keeping children out of school, emerging evidence has persuaded leaders in certain cities, such as those in Washington, DC and Chicago, to demand reopening.

"We are based on science. Gal Carter Hamilton of the Philadelphia Department of Health said the evidence is clear. "It's rare to see outbreaks in schools. "



Wait for employees to be vaccinated. In addition, Philadelphia has a long history of building hazards related to lead, asbestos, and other hazards. This history shattered the trust between the staff and the region.

The Philadelphia Teachers’ Federation said in a statement Wednesday that the school district did not provide adequate guarantees for the ventilation of the classrooms and again called for teachers to be vaccinated before returning.

PFT President Jerry Jordan (Jerry Jordan) said: "We still have concerns, especially in the field of ventilation."

The school district said on Wednesday that to reopen the school for PreK-2 students, it would require approximately 9,000 employees to be present.

PFT said on Twitter: "We know that students can learn best in person." "But the community has a high transmission rate."

PFT and the region signed a memorandum last year outlining the conditions that constitute a safe reopening. Jordan stated that if the two parties cannot reach an agreement on the previously agreed terms, the region and PFT will be handed over to a third party acting as an arbitrator.

A PFT spokesperson declined to say whether the union would consider a strike.

The virus itself also has an unpredictable process. In Philadelphia and across the country, it seems

, Although they are still higher than summer.

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Hite added that resuming face-to-face learning does not depend on teachers being vaccinated.

2 months ago

The health department said Philadelphia has confirmed 81,708 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including 1,223 new cases recorded on Tuesday.

Some students are expected to return on November 30th. Now suspended indefinitely.

3 months ago

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