PHILADELPHIA - Over a dozen Philadelphia public schools moved to remote learning this week as an avalanche of COVID-19 cases continues to put a strain on the city's education system.
The School District of Philadelphia said 15 schools will be virtual from Tuesday, Jan. 18 through Friday, Jan. 21. Three schools on the updated list - Gateway To College, Northeast High School EOP, and Northeast High School - were already virtual due to school decisions or recommendations from the Philadelphia Department of Health.
"We are hopeful that Philadelphia will be approaching the end of the Omicron surge soon, and we can return to a consistent in-person learning experience for all of our young people," Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said last Friday.
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"Until then, conditions may continue to change quickly. We ask our families to continue to remain flexible and prepare in advance for the possibility of virtual learning at any time."
Last week, the School District of Philadelphia had over 90 schools move to virtual learning due to coronavirus staffing issues and other virus-related complications.
Staff at schools that moved to remote learning are still expected to report to work in person unless they are self-isolating, quarantining due to COVID testing or exposure, or have an approved leave, the district said.
The constant jostling of in-person and remote learning post-holiday break caused the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) to scold the district's planning. PFT leader Jerry Jordan urged the district to have a weeklong pause of in-person learning after the holidays, but school officials have forged ahead by evaluating institutions on a school-by-school basis.