Philadelphia school board approves virtual learning plan until mid-November

The School District of Philadelphia's Board of Education approved a revised back-to-school plan that has students learning remotely until mid-November.

Superintendent Dr. William Hite has spent the last week redesigning a plan for the fall after receiving backlash during an hours-long meeting proposing a hybrid plan. Earlier this week, Dr. Hite proposed that the district instead shift to 100% remote learning option for the first marking period, ending Nov. 17.

On Thursday night, the board voted 7-1 on the plan.

The school year would begin as scheduled on September 3. Under the plan, students would then transition to the hybrid learning model with a mix of in-person and digital learning. The hybrid model will go into effect after the first marking period as long as guidance from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and other indicators support it is still safe to do so, according to officials.

The school district says they were lax on attendance and grades during the initial closure of in-person teaching last spring due to the unexpected nature of COVID-19. They say this fall they will be more strict.

“What we’re asking teachers to do will be more structured. What we’re asking students to do with respect to the times in those days will be a lot more structured. We will be taking attendance daily," Dr. Hite said during a Zoom call Wednesday.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan supports the revised plan.

“Teachers have been very anxious. And the feedback I’ve gotten over the past couple hours so far is that they are happy. That they are going to be teaching remotely. It gives the district a lot more time," he said.



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