PHILADELPHIA - The School District of Philadelphia has delayed its plan to welcome a limited number of students back into classrooms on March 1.
Pre-kindergarten through second grade students who were set to return Monday will remain virtual until further details are released.
Superintendent William Hite announced the change during Thursday night's school board meeting.
Officials say the city-led third-party mediation process between the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers on the phased reopening is nearing a conclusion.
According to Hite, the district will require weekly testing for on-site employees and 20% of students. All district employees will be able to start scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine by Friday.
The union has argued that school buildings were not properly fit for the safety of students and staff. PFT pointed at the use of window fans to address airflow concerns in schools with insufficient HVAC systems as an area of contention.
"I truly appreciate the good faith effort that has been demonstrated by all parties involved throughout this mediation process," said Mayor Jim Kenney. "We are excited to be nearing the end of the process and look forward to providing our Philadelphia community with more certainty about the reopening of our public schools, starting first with our youngest learners."
A joint press conference with the City of Philadelphia, School District of Philadelphia, and Philadelphia Federation of Teachers is scheduled for Monday at 1 p.m. to announce further plans.
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