PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Working parents are worried as Philadelphia schools prepare to reopen remotely. The school district is formulating plans to help them balance work and what to do with their children if they can’t be at home.
With the start of the school year in Philadelphia just three weeks away, students and teachers are preparing for 100% digital learning.
“This week we are holding our annual new hire orientation for more than 500 new educators who are going through a variety of training sessions to prepare them for a uniquely different school year,” Superintendent Dr. William Hite said Thursday.
The ongoing pandemic has forced the district to start the school year virtually and with children learning from home comes the issue of making sure someone is there to supervise.
City officials are working with the school district to establish access centers to provide supervised connected spaces for those students who can’t safely stay at home during the school day.
Although the details are still being worked out, Mayor Jim Kenney says the capacity for these centers would have to be regulated.
“I would assume that we would be talking about 25 or less because of our specifications on group gathering as is similar to our PHL pre-K operations, it’s less than 25 children,” Kenney said.
“I don’t think that it’s going to be a dropoff site that could support the hundreds of thousands of children that are being educated publicly here in the City of Philadelphia,” Hite said.
The Office of Children and Families will be heading up the access centers, saying a statement which reads, in part, “To be clear, the city cannot replicate a school environment or provide childcare for all school district students, therefore the vast majority of students will be learning at home. But we will prioritize supporting children and families with the greatest needs.”
A formal announcement on access center plans is expected next week.