Philadelphia students open up Chromebooks for first day of school

Katherine Scott Image
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Philadelphia students open up Chromebooks for first day of school
Students in the School District of Philadelphia are starting the school year on Wednesday, but they won't be in the classroom.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Students in the School District of Philadelphia started the school year on Wednesday, but they won't be in the classroom.

Classes will be held remotely through at least the first quarter, which ends in November.

Students in the School District of Philadelphia are starting the school year on Wednesday, but they won't be in the classroom.

That means technology will play a key role, and Superintendent Dr. William Hite said it will be a different experience than the virtual learning students had a few months ago.

"This is unlike the spring and individuals will have lessons, they will be graded, we are taking attendance," said Dr. Hite. "So, it's really important that individuals are logged on."

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There are three technology support centers where families can pick up Chromebooks for their students if they haven't already.

The district is loaning one to any student who doesn't already have one.

There will be a hotline for technical support issues. Families and students can call 215-400-4444 for help.

"It puts you in touch with an individual who can help you navigate any of the technology issues, but also, if in fact you need a connection or mobile hot spot, it provides information for how to go about obtaining one," Hite said.

Superintendent Dr. William Hite is asking Philadelphia students to be ready to log on and be ready for school as virtual classes begin.

Action News was there as some students and parents waited to pick up new Chromebooks at school district headquarters on Wednesday morning.

Nate Bell is starting his senior year remotely, but he started his first day a little late after waiting in line for his Chromebook.

"I came here to pick up a laptop," Bell explained. He added, "I was so enjoying my summer, and I just didn't think about getting it earlier."

But summer is over, so to speak, and students in the School District of Philadelphia are logged on for their first day.

Thousands of laptops have been distributed over the past few weeks, but with long lines, some were turned away, and so were back again Wednesday morning.

Joseph Patton Senior of West Philadelphia told us, "I'm glad I ain't in school, I'll just put it like that."

He continued, "It's very frustrating. I was down here yesterday waiting in line like an hour, and then they shut the line down."

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Orlando Vargas of East Oak Lane needs his child's laptop repaired.

"When I came and got in line yesterday, and I still missed my shot to get the fix," Vargas lamented.

But he said, "All-in-all, once it's fixed, she'll get to the classes."

Students in this school district will be remote through at least the first quarter. Families are doing what they can to make the best of it.

Parent Audrey Jamieson acknowledged, "It's challenging, but you gotta do what you gotta do."

Mother of three Raejona Jones of Logan explained, "Everyone's on a whole different level from each other, so you just gotta try to see what you can do."

Maria Cabaellero of North Philadelphia told 6abc, "I feel excited. I'm so grateful that they're going back to school and getting this education even though we have this virus going on."


There are three locations where parents can pick up Chromebooks for students from 9 am to 2 pm on Wednesday:

Education Center, Philadelphia School District HQ

440 N. Broad Street, 1st Floor Lobby, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Fitzpatrick Annex Building(rear of Fitzpatrick Elementary School)

4101 Chalfont Drive, Philadelphia PA 19154

Martin Luther King High School

6100 Stenton Avenue; Philadelphia, PA 19138

The district's resource guide for obtaining a Chromebook is here


For students who still need internet service, or encounter problems with their Chromebooks, the School District of Philadelphia says to dial 215-400-4444.

The School District of Philadelphia has compiled more resources for those needing internet, including locations of free wifi hotspots


To see what time your school starts click here


Starting September 3rd, the district is offering grab-and-go meals at several locations throughout the city. They must be picked up by parents/guardians from 9 am until noon on Thursdays.

The School District of Philadelphia's guide to grab-and-go meals including pickup locations