School District of Philadelpia considering all scenarios for reopening in the fall

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Dr. William Hite, superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia, says the plan is still to re-open schools for the fall to begin the 2020-2021 school year.

However, he admits it's not clear what that will look like.

"We are still in the red area in terms of this pandemic, so safety has always been our top priority," said Dr. Hite.

The hope is to outline some sort of structure, by no later than mid-July.

"People have talked about everything from transporting students to school, to how you do classrooms, to how do you do lunch and recess and how do children walk down hallways, and so all of those things we have to take into consideration," said Dr. Hite.

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On its website, the CDC provides detailed considerations on how schools can function safely in the midst of this pandemic.

It recommends face coverings for students and staff, spacing desks six feet apart when possible, distancing on buses, closing dining halls and playgrounds and advises children pack a lunch.

The district says it will follow those recommendations along with advice from state and local leaders. Dr. Hite says he has a dedicated team looking at all possible scenarios.

"We would then analyze each scenario to determine what we are able to do and then based on that determination, it would determine even it makes sense to stay in a virtual posture or to bring individuals back," said Dr. Hite.

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Since the beginning of this pandemic, testing has been a major concern. At this point, the district is not sure if it will be a requirement for students and staff returning to school buildings.

"I do envision just maintaining data about young people and their temperatures each day and those types of things that will give us information. I am not so sure about the testing and whether or not we will have the ability to do that," said Dr. Hite.

As for graduation, it will be virtual and is planned for Tuesday, June 9th at 11am. The district says it will last an hour and will be broadcast across a number of platforms. The district also says it is coming up with a plan for all students to get their caps and gowns.

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