State Watch

46 Philadelphia schools to move to remote learning due to omicron, winter storm

The omicron variant and a heavy winter storm have temporarily reduced staffing in Philadelphia public schools, leading more than 40 to switch to remote learning starting Monday.

At least 46 public schools in the Philadelphia School District will be “100%” remote from Jan. 10 to Jan. 14, the superintendent of Philadelphia’s school district, William Hite, said in a statement released on Friday.

Hite explained that the city had seen an “incredibly challenging first week back to school” due to severe “staffing challenges” caused by the omicron variant and the winter storm that hit the mid-Atlantic region this week.

“We will continue to keep as many of our school buildings open as consistently as possible as long as we are confident we can do so safely,” he wrote.

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers told Fox 29 the school district was at fault for shutting down so abruptly, calling it a “failure to plan” against the omicron variant.

The union said more than 90 percent of the schools have staffing issues and lack adequate COVID-19 testing materials, per the outlet, and noted that it had asked for a seven-day pause on in-person learning.

While President Biden has encouraged schools to stay open, the highly transmissible omicron variant has strained school systems.

The Chicago Teacher’s Union is currently striking against in-person learning and is in the midst of negotiations with school district officials on COVID-19 safety measures.

It was also reported Saturday that students at two high schools in North Carolina will be unable to ride the school bus for two weeks after dozens of bus drivers tested positive for COVID-19.

Tags Joe Biden omicron Pennsylvania Philadelphia remote learning school closures Virtual learning

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