philadelphia school district

Citing equity concerns, Philadelphia district will not offer remote instruction during shutdown

March 19, 2020
The district says too many students lack computers and online connections.

The Philadelphia School District will not offer remote instruction during the coronavirus shutdown because of equity concerns in a city where many students lack computers or high-speed internet at home.

The Associated Press reports that school districts nationwide have been wrestling with the same issues as they explore ways to keep children engaged as classrooms are shuttered for weeks or longer.

In Philadelphia, where some teachers had been offering forms of optional remote instruction on their own, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said at a City Hall news conference that no students will be required to log on to a computer or submit assignments.

“If that’s not available to all children, we cannot make it available to some,” Hite said.

Most of Philadelphia’s 200,000 students come from low-income families. About 130,000 go to district schools, and the rest attend charter schools, which are free to set their own policies. The district has closed schools through at least March 27.

The district had sent students home last week with learning packets, and will continue to distribute them along with grab-and-go meals at sites across the city. Teachers can check on students through emails or phone calls, but cannot offer any instruction.

The digital divide is less of an issue in wealthier suburbs nearby, some of which provide laptops or tablets to students.

Sponsored Recommendations

Providing solutions that help creativity, collaboration, and communication.

Discover why we’re a one-stop shop for all things education. See how ODP Business Solutions can help empower your students, school, and district to succeed by supporting healthier...

Building Futures: Transforming K–12 Learning Environments for Tomorrow's Leaders

Discover how ODP Business Solutions® Workspace Interiors partnered with a pioneering school system, overcoming supply chain challenges to furnish 18 new K–12 campuses across 4...

How to design flexible learning spaces that teachers love and use

Unlock the potential of flexible learning spaces with expert guidance from school districts and educational furniture providers. Discover how to seamlessly integrate adaptive ...

Blurring the Lines in Education Design: K–12 to Higher Ed to Corporate America

Discover the seamless integration of educational and corporate design principles, shaping tomorrow's leaders from kindergarten to boardroom. Explore innovative classroom layouts...