92 Philadelphia schools going temporarily virtual due to staffing challenges related to pandemic

The change started Tuesday, January 4 and will remain in place through at least Friday, January 7.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Due to staffing challenges stemming from the omicron-related COVID-19 spike, the School District of Philadelphia will shift more than 90 schools to virtual learning for the remainder of the week.

The change started Tuesday, January 4 and will remain in place through at least Friday, January 7.

"As we've always said, our goal is to keep the District open so we can surround our young people with the caring educators and support services they need - as long as we can do so safely," said Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite on Monday night. "District leaders have been meeting regularly with local public health officials to monitor the COVID-19 situation, and we've also been closely tracking data to determine COVID's impact on staff coverage in schools."

The remaining District-led schools will be open for in-person learning starting Tuesday.

While students at the impacted schools will be out, educators are expected to report to work unless they are self-isolating or quarantining.

District Spokesperson Monica Lewis said that with a pandemic still raging you have to assess the issue on a school-by-school basis.

"We have more than 200 schools that we have to see the number of call-outs," she said. "People who were self-isolating because of potential exposure to someone with COVID. So, we really have to just assess the numbers."

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers weighed in on the decision.

"Instead of heeding our call for a 7-day pause on in-person learning to effectively plan for adequate mitigation measures, the District is undertaking a piecemeal plan that leaves parents and staff alike scrambling to make plans for tomorrow morning," wrote PFT on Facebook and Twitter.

Union leader Jerry Jordan says the entire district should have gone virtual for this first first week back to come up with a clearer path forward.

"The entire school system should not have opened for children and staff until the district and the union is able to assess the school buildings and to make sure that the buildings are safe for children and for staff," he said.

District officials continue to call for patience and understanding.

On Tuesday, officials said the District aims to provide any changes to in-person learning plans at 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. each day.

Here's the full list of Philadelphia schools temporarily shifting to virtual learning.
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