PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — All public schools in Philadelphia will remain open for in-person learning next week if a SEPTA strike occurs, the Philadelphia School District said Thursday. While the school district plans to operate on normal schedules, they will not offer additional transportation for students if an agreement is not reached between Transport Workers Union Local 234 and SEPTA and a strike occurs.
A strike could happen as early as Monday morning if an agreement is not reached between the TWU Local 234 and SEPTA by Sunday night.READ MORE: First Confirmed Cases Of COVID-19 Omicron Variant Reported In Philadelphia, New Jersey
Students who are currently assigned to a bus or van route will continue to receive transportation services, but because of the national bus driver shortage, the district is unable to provide transportation to students who are not currently assigned to a route.
The district says in the event of a strike, families should expect bus delays and delays for student pick up and drop off since more vehicles will be on the roadways.
Any student who cannot attend in-person classes because of transportation challenges will be expected to log in to Google Classroom for their assignments and engage in asynchronous learning daily.
Hybrid learning will not be offered and students will not be able to log into their classes virtually.
“While SEPTA is optimistic that negotiations will continue and an agreement will be reached, we want to share our plans in case there is a service interruption,” Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite said. “Attending school in-person provides our young people with the familiar routines, sense of community and support services that they need for their social, emotional and academic well-being. Now more than ever, our schools are safe havens for thousands of students who are experiencing the very real impacts of increasing gun violence and other traumas impacting our communities.”
Meanwhile, parents are desperately trying to figure out how to get their children to school.
“We need a lot of prayer for this one,” one parent told CBS3.
Parents praying for a SEPTA solution. They say a possible strike would throw a wrench into their everyday school routines.READ MORE: Family Of Fallen Delaware County Firefighter Has Mortgage Fully Paid Off
“It’s very stressful,” another parent said. “My son goes to Central High School, and it would be horrible if we couldn’t take the subway to school.”
This has parents scrambling to make alternative plans now to make sure their kids get to school.
“We have to find a way and we are hoping there is no strike,” a mom said.
“Now I am going to have to rearrange my whole lifestyle and start bumming rides from people. Like ‘yo, can you help me with my daughter? You know, get her back and forth from school?” another mom said.
Philadelphia School District spokesperson Monica Lewis knows the service disruption will be extremely inconvenient for parents, students and staff.
Although, she stressed the importance of remaining open, “We realized that being in person is very important for our students and we want to do everything possible to make sure we can have in-person learning.”
As for Catholic schools in the city, they will go virtual if the strike happens.
The district will have grab-and-go meal kits available at 12 school distribution sites across Philadelphia for families of enrolled students who cannot attend school in person if a SEPTA strike occurs.
The district says they will continue to monitor the situation closely and updates will be provided as they become available.MORE NEWS: Mother Of Ahmir Jones, Teen Killed Protecting Girlfriend During Robbery Near Temple University, Speaks Out
CBS3’s Kerri Corrado contributed to this report.