COVID-19 in Philly: City schools start planning for the fall

    (Philadelphia Tribune photo)

    By Chanel Hill

    PHILADELPHIA — While School District of Philadelphia administrators hope to have students and staff return to school buildings at the start of the new school year, they are also making some backup plans in case officials order schools to remain closed or there is a second coronavirus outbreak.

    They might have students and staff continue to work remotely, or they might implement a hybrid approach in which some students and staff return to the buildings and the other students and staff continue to work remotely.

    “It is not likely to be a district-wide plan, but it may depend on the context of individual schools, communities, grade levels, and capacity utilization issues,” Superintendent William Hite said Thursday during his weekly news briefing.

    Hite said administrators’ decisions will also depend on health guidelines from the CDC, and local and state officials.

    He said he expects to have more information in the coming weeks.

    District staff soon will send out surveys asking employees, teachers, students and families about what their experience has been with remote learning and what they would like to see if the district has to continue it to any degree.

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    Still, district staff are preparing the administrative and school buildings to be open in August.

    Hite said administrators are planning on capital improvements, and all buildings will be cleaned in compliance with CDC and state and local health guidelines.

    Malcolm Jenkins named as keynote speaker for virtual graduation

    Two-time Super Bowl champion Malcolm Jenkins has been named the keynote speaker for school district’s virtual graduation ceremony.

    Jenkins, whose six-year stint with the Philadelphia Eagles ended this year after he signed with the New Orleans Saints, has established himself as one of the best safeties in the league.

    He is also well known throughout the city and nationally for his advocacy for social justice and his charitable work through The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation.

    “His compassion, advocacy around social justice, and work with the youth through his foundation makes him a perfect speaker for us,” said Donna Frisby-Greenwood, president and CEO of The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia.

    The virtual graduation ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 9, and will be broadcast on the district’s website, Comcast Xfinity (Channel 52) and Verizon Fios (Channel 20).

    District prepares for summer academic programming

    The district has open registration for summer academic programming.

    Led by the Office of Academic Support and the Chief School Office, the programming will allow students to learn and build on the skills developed during the academic school year. The programming will be offered digitally.

    “The prevention of learning loss during a typical summer is incredibly important, so this year it’s more critical than ever,” Hite said.

    The program, which will start on June 29, will address a wide range of topics, including English language arts, math, and English language learning for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

    The program will also be an extended school year for special education students, career and technical education, and credit recovery to help students who might not have successfully completed courses during the 2019-20 school year.

    Chanel Hill is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.