School District of Philadelphia could go 100% virtual if SEPTA union strikes

The union has authorized a strike as early as Nov. 1 if a new contract deal is not reached.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The School District of Philadelphia is warning parents of the fallout from a possible SEPTA strike next month.

The current contract for the Transport Workers Union Local 234 expires in 11 days.

The union has authorized a strike as early as Nov. 1 if a new contract deal is not reached.

Superintendent Dr. William Hite sent a letter to parents on Tuesday about the situation, saying if a strike does occur, some or all of the schools could shift back to 100 percent virtual learning.

"The School District of Philadelphia is not directly involved in these contract negotiations. However, it is clear that a SEPTA strike would have a devastating impact on the operation of our School District and our ability to sustain in-person learning five days a week for all students - something we all worked extremely hard to make happen for all students this school year," Hite said.

The letter continued, "While I respect the right of any union member to advocate for themselves, it is my greatest hope that this strike can be avoided so that we can continue to keep our schools open and best support the social, emotional and academic needs of our students without additional disruption. In the midst of increasing gun violence and the many other traumas impacting our communities as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, our schools are a safe haven for thousands of Philadelphia's young people. We are advocating relentlessly with City leaders for a non-strike resolution to SEPTA negotiations."

Nearly 60,000 students rely on SEPTA to get to and from school.

"In the midst of a national driver shortage that is already disrupting our District operations, providing student transportation support to all students who would need it during a strike would not be an option," Hite said.

The district is also surveying teachers and staff to figure out how many rely on SEPTA to get to work.

The district has set up a website - Philasd.org/septastrike/ - to keep families updated.
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