By Natasha Brown

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Schools had hoped this would be a more normal school year, but some schools have had to close due to COVID cases. It’s been anything but normal in the midst of an ongoing pandemic.

Some parents are thrown into a frenzy when schools are forced to close due to rising COVID cases. One parent told CBS3 she wants to find safe places to accommodate students when this happens.

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“This has got to be so stressful on parents, and I completely sympathize,” parent Stephanie Marrero said.

It’s becoming a near-daily occurrence for parents to receive notifications that another Philadelphia school has closed due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Three weeks into the school year and five city schools have been paused for two weeks due to positive virus case counts.

“I played a big part in having our school shut down,” Marrero said.

Marrero has three children who are now back home in virtual learning. They all attend Richmond Elementary in Port Richmond, which closed on Wednesday due to evidence of in-school COVID spread.

She got wind of the rising cases and said she reached out directly to the Philadelphia Health Department.

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“I consistently called the Health Department and notified them of every case that we were told about,” she said. “Our school had, we were told about 10 cases. We believe that it’s been nothing but teachers and staff that tested positive.”

The Health Department doesn’t publicly disclose who tested positive but they do directly notify a school when in-school pauses are necessary.

In the meantime, many parents are left to scramble to find ways to accommodate in-home virtual learning as more schools revert to that option due to rising COVID cases.

“I’m hoping that once the city’s involved, that we can get some community center so that kids can come to a safe place,” Marrero said.

The Philadelphia Department of Health is always in communication with schools to investigate COVID cases. And they are the only entity to make the final call on when an in-school pause needs to happen for any school.

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Meantime, CBS3 was told parents in Port Richmond have requested a community meeting next week to discuss ways of finding safe places where children can go for virtual learning in the event of an abrupt school closure.