distance learning

New At-Home School Lessons Start in Philadelphia

The district is moving to the next phase of online learning starting Monday

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Philly's schools chief says the district has lent out 81,000 Chromebook laptops to students so far during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a call with reporters Thursday, Superintendent Dr. William Hite added that some students have still been participating in classes via text message and email, and the level of need for the technology varies by school.

"We have some large schools where 1,500, 1,600 computers were distributed, but they have 2,000 to 3,000 students," Hite said.

The running total as of last week was 75,000 Chromebooks.

The district has been in review mode since April 20. But on Monday, it moves to planned instruction, where teachers will provide 3 hours of lessons online.

Attendance will be taken and grades will be given. But the district is still working out if those grades will be just for participation.

"I don’t want to harp too much on traditional grading in a non-traditional pandemic," Hite said Thursday.

There are no plans to penalize students for circumstances that hurt their ability to participate. The district is still collecting information about students who don't have internet or otherwise can't participate in the digital learning.

"We still have students and families who for whatever reason we can’t locate," Hite said. In those cases, the district is sending an adult from the child's school to make contact. In some cases where the district couldn't find a family, the district worked with the Department of Human Services to find another address or point of contact.

The district is also working on its funding plans for the future, depending on what's in Mayor Jim Kenney's budget, which releases tomorrow.

Anyone with tech issues with their Chromebook can visit one of two district tech support centers. One in the lobby of the 440 N. Broad St. headquarters, and another in the Fitzpatrick Annex Building behind Fitzpatrick Elementary, 4101 Chalfont Drive.

The district hotline for Chromebook help is 215-400-4444.

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