School District of Philadelphia

Only 2,500 Philly Students Can Use Virtual Learning ‘Access Centers'

The city is focusing on young children whose parents work and cannot afford at-home childcare.

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Philly officials revealed a little more Tuesday about the planned access centers where students can participate in virtual learning this fall.

The total capacity of the centers across the city, once all are open, is about 2,500 students, Deputy Mayor Cynthia Figueroa said at a city news briefing. (There are more than 200,000 students in the city's public and charter schools.)

So far, roughly 100 out of 190 families who applied were eligible, she said. A spokesperson for the city's Office of Children and Families said more data - like how many people applied and were accepted - would be available Wednesday.

NBC10 previously reported that the first phase of the center openings will begin Sept. 8 and serve 800 students from kindergarten to sixth grade. The centers are open to students from public, charter or private schools.

"Access centers are not drop-in centers, nor are they replacements for our schools," Mayor Jim Kenney said Tuesday. "Filling out this form does not guarantee your child has a spot. It does not guarantee a spot. It is the first step in registration."

Figueroa said the city has shown through in-person summer camps how to care for children safely with masks and social distancing.

"Both our summer camp and our out-of-school time providers who ran camps did remarkably," she said. "We did not have any major incidents in regards to contraction both at the staff level or the youth level."

In registering students for the access centers, the city is giving priority to families with children in grades K-6, whose caregivers work outside the home and can't afford childcare.

If a family tries to sign up for an access center because of internet connectivity issues at home, they will likely be referred to the city's PHLConnectED program, Figueroa said.

That program will give K-12 families a Comcast broadband or T-Mobile hotspot internet connection so students can learn online while staying safe in the coronavirus pandemic.

Spots are limited. Interested parents should fill out an form at and wait to hear back from the registration team if they are eligible.

NBC10's Rosemary Connors contributed to this report.

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