Philadelphia 3rd through 5th graders return for in-person learning under hybrid plan

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Thousands of Philadelphia elementary students are returning to the classroom Monday part-time under the district's hybrid plan.

All 3rd through 5th grade students get their turn to come back to the classroom for a mix of in-person and virtual learning.

Thousands of Pre-K through 2nd grade students have already been in the classroom for more than a month.

They returned in two waves last month to nearly 100 schools that have been outfitted with air purifiers and plexiglass partitions.

It was a bumpy road to get to this point.

Leaders of the district and teachers' union debated and delayed the reopening of schools until they agreed on safety measures, which included making the vaccine available to all teachers and staff.

Now, the district is focused on what the return will look like in the future.

"We do want to see all of our children return to some form of in-person learning for the next school year, but we also have a number of activities and programs in place that will be coming up to help our students throughout the course for the summer," Philadelphia School District spokesperson Monica Lewis.

Looking ahead, all 6th through 9th graders who have not yet returned can do so in just a couple of weeks starting on May 10.

They will be part of the last wave of students to return to the classroom this school year.

Everyone else will remain all-virtual with the goal of getting them back into the classroom for the start of school in the fall.

Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.