PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The return to the classroom is on hold for students in the School District of Philadelphia. The plan was to bring a limited number of students back into classrooms this coming Monday.
But with ongoing mediation between the district and teachers’ union over safety concerns, students will stay virtual — for now.READ MORE: Derek Chauvin Trial: Renewed Calls For Justice Ring Throughout Philadelphia Streets Ahead Of Closing Arguments
One teacher says they’re in yet another situation where they’re left with more questions than answers. But they’re hopeful the school district will actually reopen safely.
“Pre-k through second-grade students who were set to return on Monday, March 1 will remain virtual until further details are announced,” Superintendent Dr. William Hite said.]
With building safety being a top priority for the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, students in the School District of Philadelphia will remain virtual.
Hite announced some mandatory changes Thursday that would be coming with reopening the district.
“We’re launching a robust COVID-19 testing program, which will include both asymptomatic and symptomatic testing for students and staff who are returning to buildings for hybrid learning,” Hite said.
According to Dr. Hite, if a teacher tests positive, they will be sent home, the same with a student.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Latest: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?
He added the mediation process between the Philadelphia School District and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers on the phased reopening is nearing an end.
“OK, we’re going back, but what’s the plan? Oh, we’re not going back? There’s just been a lot of uncertainty,” science specialist Charlotte McCracken said.
Many teachers would like to return to the classroom for in-person learning, but they would like to return safely.
“I think testing needs to happen. It’s the only way to really know who might be asymptomatic and it’s the only real way to accurately know,” McCracken said.
More details will be announced Monday afternoon, but McCracken says teachers are rightfully skeptical.
“I feel like, I’ll believe it when I see it,” she said.
“We continue to work through the mediation process to ensure that when school buildings reopen, our members and the students they serve will be safe. We’ll have more to say on Monday,” the teachers’ union said in a statement.MORE NEWS: Multi-Vehicle Crash In Upper Macungie Township Sends 10 People To Hospital
Asked about PPE, Dr. Hite tonight said there will be plenty of PPE for staff and students and high-touch areas will be cleaned every four hours.