February 26, 2021
Philadelphia elementary students will not resume in-person instruction Monday.
The School District of Philadelphia has delayed their return for the second time this month because it is still negotiating a reopening plan with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers through a third-party mediator.
The district and teachers union are expected to issue a joint announcement Monday providing new details on the school reopening plan.
About 9,000 pre-K through second grade students have been waiting to begin a hybrid learning model. They initially were expected to head back in November, but their return has been pushed back several times.
"We realize that the uncertainty surrounding the safe reopenings of our school buildings has been unsettling and inconvenient for many families, and that you would prefer to know details today," Superintendent William Hite wrote Thursday in a message to families.
"What I can share today is that there are still some important details that are being worked out, and we want to have those details finalized so we can announce the full phase-in plan for PreK-2 hybrid learning students at one time."
Earlier this month, the teaches union instructed its members against returning to schools, saying the district had not done enough to ensure their safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The union claimed classrooms lacked proper ventilation and requested a third-party mediator evaluate the issue.
The union also had raised concerns about the lack of vaccines for teachers.
Teachers and staffers began receiving vaccines Monday through a partnership with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The district has sent invitations to 22,000 teachers and staffers to get vaccinated.