PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — The School District of Philadelphia said Tuesday it is committed to resuming classes for students in the fall. This comes a day after Pennsylvania’s education secretary said he expects state schools to reopen in the fall with in-person learning.
“We don’t yet know what that will look like. We are actively working with a variety of stakeholders across the City and Commonwealth, as well as with our K-12 colleagues around the country, to ensure that we can provide our students and staff with a safe opportunity for continued learning and instruction,” the school district told CBS3 in a statement.
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Schools have been closed since March under Gov. Tom Wolf’s orders to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus, keeping more than 1.7 million public school children home and exposing big differences in the ability of wealthier and poorer districts to educate children online.
Education Secretary Pedro Rivera, testifying in a Senate committee hearing on Monday, acknowledged that schools will need additional aid to respond to various challenges posed by school closures and the need to contain the virus.
He downplayed the notion that students might not return to school buildings in the fall. The department intends to reopen schools, but keeping students and staff safe might mean changes that involve following state Health Department recommendations, he said.
“We fully expect to come back to school in fall. However, before school starts, part of what we’re working on in our recovery plan to bring schools back, is to provide orientation for educators to be able to hit the ground running,” Rivera said.
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Rivera said the Education Department is working on guidelines to help students transition back into the classroom. More information will be released in the coming weeks.
Even though Pennsylvania is eyeing a fall return to the classroom, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force, told a Senate committee today that schools should not expect a vaccine or treatment in time for students to return to classrooms in the fall.
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