Last week, officials announced that pre-k to second-grade students in the School District of Philadelphia would remain all-virtual as a third-party mediation process continues between the district and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.
The students were set to return to the classroom on Monday, but that was put on hold due to continued discussions over COVID-19 safety concerns.
"I truly appreciate the good faith effort that has been demonstrated by all parties involved throughout this mediation process," said Mayor 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."
The district and the teacher's union have been in talks for weeks about the safety issue. The union feels it's unsafe.
Superintendent Dr. William Hite and other school and health officials say property measures have been taken.
"I can confidently say that our schools are ready to open with the proper precautions in place, and that time to resume in-person learning is now," said Dr. Hite.
Hite maintains the district has invested $65 million in measures to keep virus transmission low.
SEE ALSO: Vaccines now available for education workers in Philadelphia
Hundreds of teachers have been getting vaccinated for the virus at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
The district says getting a vaccine is not mandatory for employees to come back to work, however, it is highly recommended.
On Thursday, city officials say the mediation process is "nearing conclusion" and details would be finalized over the next few days.