The School District of Philadelphia has announced a comprehensive and inclusive approach to planning for the 2020-2021 school year. Input from families, students and staff through an online survey and virtual town hall meetings will be an essential part of the planning process. The survey, which went live on Monday, seeks input on digital learning and what is most important to families, students and staff as the District considers the safe return to school buildings in the fall.
The survey is available at: www.philasd.org/2020schoolstart and will remain open through Monday, June 22. It is expected to take no more than 15 minutes to complete and is available in multiple languages. A series of town halls is also being planned for July. Dates and times will be shared at a later date.
The District will use the feedback provided from the survey and virtual town hall meetings, in addition to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local experts from the PA Department of Education, Philadelphia Department of Public Health and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to inform decisions about reopening.
The District has also adopted a set of guiding principles to lead them through planning, which include: health and safety, continuous high-quality instruction, educational equity, data-driven decision making, flexibility, and accurate and timely communication.
“We are working closely with public health experts and leaders from the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and on a national level to ensure that we are aware of best practices to expand our thinking as we consider the many things that will need to change to promote safe and inclusive learning and work environments for everyone, especially our most vulnerable students and employees,” Superintendent William R. Hite, Jr., Ed.D, said. “Looking ahead to the upcoming school year, we must make some important decisions about what school will look like, how our students will experience learning, and how we will support the health and well-being of our students and staff. We are approaching this work thoughtfully, collaboratively and with an enormous sense of responsibility.”
Hite has emphasized that the 2020-2021 school year could have a variety of possible scenarios including in-person learning, remote learning and a hybrid of both. The planning process is exploring a range of areas across these scenarios, including: health and safety practices; daily school operations; academics; school safety protocols; student transportation; meal service; employee staffing and policies; training needs, and much more. The District will also support the social emotional needs of students and employees and begin to address all forms of inequity across the District as part of its planning efforts. The plan will be developed with strict adherence to guidelines put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in consultation with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH).
The District is planning to have its plan for the upcoming school year finalized in July so the District and families can prepare for a successful and safe school year. For additional information and updates on the reopening process, please visit: www.philasd.org/2020schoolstart .