PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The potential SEPTA strike could force Philadelphia schools to return to remote learning. One week from tonight, as kids are trick or treating, many parents may be frightened by the thought of a strike when the clock strikes midnight.

“It’s going to be really hard for me… I don’t have a car, I don’t know [how to get to school], I guess Uber,” student Ritika Malik said of the possible SEPTA strike.


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Philadelphia’s students and their families are watching and wondering what they’ll do if SEPTA and more than 5,000 transport workers who operate our city’s buses, trolleys, subway, and trains fail to reach an agreement by 12:01 a.m. on November 1.

“We’re not trying to be greedy, we’re not trying to break the bank, we’re not trying to be unreasonable,” Willie Brown, the president of the TWU Local 234, said.

Union leaders said current terms aren’t going to get a deal done, but SEPTA is staying optimistic for a new contract that “provides stability for both our employees and the customers who rely on us every day.”

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While both the school district and Federation Of Teachers stand in support of the transport workers, with the teachers’ union calling their work “critically important,” school district leaders are urging parents to check their students’ laptops and internet access in the case of a return to remote learning.

More than 60,000 Philadelphia students rely on SEPTA to get to class every day.

“I would just stop going to school because everything is online because of COVID, but I want to go to class,” Malik said.

The city is also encouraging K-12 families without internet service to call 211 to enroll in PHLconnectED, a no-cost program for students in need.

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The school district has also set up an information page for parents with the latest updates on the strike. That information can be found here.

Alicia Roberts