PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — More than 90 Philadelphia schools have shifted to virtual learning this week due to staffing shortages.

It’s back – the debate of in-person learning versus virtual classes.  

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“Yes in class for her to learn, but no because I don’t want her to get sick,” Ricardo Martinez said.  

Martinez says he can understand the benefit to both sides as he walks his 7-year-old daughter inside Clara Barton Elementary School, which is open for now. 

“She already has a compromised immune system from birth,” Martinez said.

“Since with COVID I’d love to do online school,” Sophia Martinez said. “Because since all the stuff is going around, I’d rather go to zoom because I don’t want to get sick.”

As of Monday, 91 Philadelphia schools switched to virtual learning as the omicron variant continues to spread across the city making it difficult for the district to staff its in-person classrooms. 

“It depends on the number of staff that a school has and to determine if they could fill in for those who are unable to report to work,” Monica Lewis, a spokesperson with the School District of Philadelphia, said.

Every day families must now wait to hear if their child’s school is next, which causes some parents to have to worry about childcare.  

There will be daily updates on new in-person closures scheduled for 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. An update at 6 a.m. will be added if needed.

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“It is kind of frustrating because they may call me tomorrow,” Amari Cruz said.

“I have to either be home with my daughter because at work we don’t have hot spot or wifi for them, it’s very inconsistent,” she added.

While everyone says safety is a priority, some feel it going to come at the price of sacrificing their child’s education.

“Last year with the whole pandemic and being home school, I don’t think she got the proper education she should’ve gotten,” Ricardo Martinez said.

“Then we can all quarantine together for the next two weeks then they can open up again,” Cruz said.

Officials said they are also working to ensure critical services, including tech support and school lunches, continue for those students whose classrooms close.

“We have 24 schools that will serve as rapid to go meal sites beginning Tuesday, and people can go and pick up a 10 meal grab and go box – and it’s a five breakfast, five lunch meal box,” Lewis said.

The list of schools going virtual for the week of Jan. 10 can be found here.

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