SOCIETY HILL - Philadelphia schools haven’t seen students for months, but will they welcome them back in the fall?
It may only be July, but many parents and teachers are already thinking ahead to September.
The McCall Public School serves students from Kindergarten through eighth in its big, brick building in Society Hill. Closed since the COVID lockdown, what will students find when they return and should they?
Isaac Obayon has seen the neighborhood change in his time here. The developer of high-end homes believes kids need their friends and teachers.
“Wearing the right mask and figuring out what to do with kids so they’re not going to go crazy wearing masks…I would like the kids to go back to school,” Obayon stated.
More than half of the parents and guardians who responded to a school district survey agree, but only with safety measures in place.
“Please wear a mask. As soon as the threat is gone, the sooner our children can go back to classroom 100 percent of the time,” Mayor Kenney said.
The Mayor was joined in his COVID-19 briefing Tuesday by the head of city schools, who was asked how he’ll make the District’s aging buildings – some with asbestos – safe from the virus.
“If it doesn’t have the right ventilation, we’ll have to take those areas of the building, or the schools off line,” Dr. William Hite, Superintendent of Philadelphia Public Schools, explained.
Mask-wearing, hard cleaning of buildings and hand sanitizing stations will likely play a role, along with a combination of in-person and online learning.
All coming at a price.
Hite is eyeing a new federal stimulus package.
“Any idea what extra costs are? What’s your funding source?” asked FOX 29’s Jeff Cole.
“It could be in the area of $425 million in a one time funding. That would be very helpful offsetting our expenses related to the pandemic,” Dr. Hite replied.
Hite says he’ll announce his back-to-school plan next week.
Duke Waters, of Southwest Philadelphia, says his high school sophomore son will return with a mask on.
“Make classroom size smaller. Fewer kids in class for everybody’s safety,” Waters said.
“And, be careful?” asked Cole.
“Be careful,” laughed Waters.
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