Superintendent backtracks plans, announces all-digital start for Philly schools in fall

Mike DeNardo
July 28, 2020 - 4:21 pm

    PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)  After hearing loud criticism of his hybrid back-to-school plan, Superintendent William Hite now says Philadelphia schools will have an all-digital start to the new year.

    Philadelphia students will start the new school year the same way they finished last year's: learning from their laptops from home. 

    Listen Live Now on KYW

    It’s a reversal of Hite’s hybrid plan that had students in schools two days a week, which was criticized by more than 100 public speakers at a marathon school board meeting last Thursday night. 


    Hearing that parade of criticism from teachers, principals and members of the community, Hite asked the school board then for more time to rework his plan before they voted on it. 

    They gave him a week, and this digital start to the school year is the result. 

    Under the revised plan, students would attend classes remotely for the first marking period, or until Nov. 17. Instruction would transition to a hybrid model after that.

    The move comes on the same day the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers called for an all-digital start. The union released a survey showing that 74% of teachers felt personally unsafe entering school buildings, and 78% thought students’ safety was being jeopardized by opening school buildings.

    The union representing Philadelphia school principals, Teamsters Local 502, last week urged the district to change to an all-virtual start for at least the first two months of the year.​