PHILADELPHIA - As thousands of young Philadelphia students began returning to classrooms for hybrid learning on Monday morning, School District of Philadelphia officials revealed they were exploring plans to expand instruction options into the summer for students who may have suffered more learning loss.
Superintendent Dr. William Hite appeared on Good Day Philadelphia Monday as 53 public schools reopened their doors to Pre-K to 2nd-grade students who had opted into hybrid learning last fall.
During the interview, Dr. Hite noted that the district's goal was to have the remaining schools reopened to Pre-K to 2nd-grade students by March 22 so they could focus on them and then begin to think about which students would be next to return.
With summer nearing, Dr. Hite was asked if the current timeline meant most older students may not see the inside of a school building until next fall.
Dr. Hite responded, saying that physical distancing guidelines were still in place, so not all students would be able to return at once.
He added that the district was exploring plans to extend instruction into the summer with a fifth grading period option for students who may have suffered more 'learning loss.'
When asked how far into the summer schooling could extend, Hite said the extension could be 'significant.'
"We're going to add another grading period, and that will be for children who need help and who have fallen the most," Hite said. "Individuals will still have an opportunity to choose whether or not they do that."
Hite added that the district wanted to partner up the extension into the summer with individuals who normally run camps and arts and culture activities inside of their schools. That partnership would ensure that the added time wouldn't just be a 'school-based experience,' but also an 'enrichment experience' as students use the time to make up for lost learning.
"We will be running a robust, extended school year program this year, unlike we have in other years," Hite added during a press conference later Monday morning.
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