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March 25, 2021

Philly schools to welcome back more elementary students in late April

Families of eligible children must opt into the district's hybrid learning program by April 13

Education Schools
School District of Philadelphia Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

The second phase of the School District of Philadelphia's reopening plan will begin April 26. Students in grades 3-5 and students with complex needs in grades 6-8 are eligible to join the district's hybrid learning program.

The School District of Philadelphia is expanding its hybrid learning model to include students in grades 3-5 and students with complex needs in grades 6-8. 

Students who opt into the hybrid model will return to classrooms April 26 after enduring more than a year of remote learning, Superintendent Dr. William Hite said Thursday. They will receive two days of in-person instruction and three days of online learning. Students may choose to continue all-remote instruction. 

Families will be able to enroll their students into hybrid instruction beginning April 6. They will have until April 13 to make a decision. Teachers will begin returning to schools April 12. 

"We look forward to this next phase of our plan to welcome more students back to school for in-person learning and meet the needs of more families who want this learning option for their child," Hite wrote in a letter to families.

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers has completed its readiness reviews for the majority of school district buildings that serve these student groups, Hite said. All classrooms must be evaluated for health and safety by the city's teachers union before in-person instruction can resume.

Students in pre-K through second grade began returning to schools March 8. There are 133 schools open for limited in-person instruction, with another 22 to reopen April 5

About 7,000 students have returned to the classroom, with another 2,000 expected back April 5, according to The Inquirer. Only about 35% of families of children eligible to return have opted into the hybrid model. 

The next phase includes another 29,000 eligible children. Limiting it to students in grades 3-5 and older children with complex needs will allow the district to maintain 6-foot distancing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revised its guidelines to allow for 3-foot-distancing, but the teachers union must sign off on any distancing changes. 

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