PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Students at a West Oak Lane high school spent their first day in a new building on Monday, but some parents and students are finding the transition difficult.
This change comes after Building 21 was found to have asbestos, leading students to move to a temporary site at Strawberry Mansion High School.
Attendance on the first day in the new building was low, with the school district saying 36 students showed up in person out of a student body of 370. Of those 36 students, 22 arrived on a shuttle. An additional 126 students opted for online learning.
Online learning is a tricky path for these students, however. They need to meet certain requirements to do so.
Strawberry Mansion High School is out of its allotted virtual learning days, and the district is working to get approval from the state for more.
"The district is going to continue working with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to see if virtual instruction is ok, or will be approved," said Monique Braxton, a spokesperson for the School District of Philadelphia.
Some parents have refused to send their children to the new high school, which is six miles away from the old one, citing safety or logistical concerns.
Monday morning, parent Janelle Talley dropped off eleventh-grade twins Conye and Cyncere at the temporary site.
"I really don't think their intentions were to hurt anybody or disrupt anybody," said Talley. "They put us here, we just have to work with it."
Her children have mixed opinions on whether or not online learning would be a better solution than the relocation.
"I'd prefer to be online but what can you do?" said Conye.
"I didn't do well the first time doing COVID learning online," noted Cyncere. "I don't think it's that bad to give it a shot the first time."
Parents, however, may find online learning to be more convenient.
"It's best if those kids could go virtual until the issue is resolved because we are used to that setting," said father Patrick Kpanyen.
The district said that SEPTA is working with them to provide a shuttle for student transportation. SEPTA buses will be offered for students on Tuesday, but past that, the district is still working out plans for transportation.
Building 21 has its own corridor on the fourth floor, as well as its own entrance.
"It has its own entrances and exits. It has its own cafeteria. It has its own bathrooms. So there are all the important things that lead us to do to the decision to bring the students here," said Braxton.
One Strawberry Mansion community activist emphasized that safety must be at the forefront of this issue.
"We welcome children to get an education, but our main concern in the Strawberry Mansion community is violence on the rise," said activist Tanya Parker. "Please pay attention and make sure that this school is heavily guarded and that these children get back and forth, and our children do too."
The Building 21 students are at Strawberry Mansion High School indefinitely. Families will receive weekly updates on the state of repairs.