Superintendent says some Philadelphia schools will reopen by end of academic year

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Superintendent Dr. William Hite says that while it's still too early to offer any details, he feels confident that at least some students in Philadelphia schools will attend in-person classes before the end of the current academic year.

"I can't say with certainty what grades will be included, but I can say with a great deal of confidence that there will be some schools that will be serving children," Hite said during a Wednesday briefing.

Hite said the plan to bring kids back to school does not hinge on impending coronavirus immunization rates.

He says COVID-19 testing will be at the heart of the plan, allowing school and health officials to identify any possible outbreaks as early as possible.

But this would not be the district's first try at reopening schools. Previous attempts at a hybrid-learning format fell apart amid rising COVID case counts among students and faculty.

Hite says he and his staff have learned from those previous efforts and they now have a better grasp on what they're dealing with regarding the virus.

He adds that whatever reopening plan is approved, it will be gradual and the testing will not be performed regularly.

"We're not bringing everybody back, and so it will be based on who's back in-person and those numbers would then determine who would be tested," he said.

Further details about the reopening plan are expected early in the new year.
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