81 Philly schools going virtual due to omicron-related staff absences

A spike in COVID cases has led to staffing challenges at district schools. Dozens will be virtual until at least Friday.

The exterior of Philadelphia School District headquarters

Philadelphia School District headquarters. (Danya Henninger/Billy Penn)

More than a third of the School District of Philadelphia’s schools go virtual starting Tuesday, Jan. 4, the district announced Monday evening. They will stay remote through at least Friday, Jan. 7.

The shift to remote learning for 81 schools is “due to staffing challenges stemming from the omicron-related spike in COVID-19 cases,” the district stated in a press release.

District officials have remained committed to returning from winter break in person, despite calls from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers to go virtual for a week to ensure COVID mitigation measures were in place before staff and students returned to school buildings.

All other district-run schools will return from break in p erson on Tuesday.

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Staff at the remote schools are still expected to report to work in person “unless they are self-isolating or quarantining due to COVID testing or exposure, have COVID-like symptoms and are awaiting test results, or have an approved leave,” the district said. Those staff members may be able to teach virtually, after checking in with school leaders.

“The COVID-19 situation and its impact on our ability to safely staff our schools is fast moving,” said Superintendent Dr. William Hite. “We know that the uncertainties created by this rapidly changing environment are difficult for many families. We are grateful for everyone’s continued flexibility and understanding.”

More information for families, including about Chromebooks and meals, can be found on the school district’s blog.

Across the region and nation, some school districts have voiced concerns about COVID-driven staffing shortages. Central Bucks School District canceled classes Monday partly due to teacher absences, and is calling for more substitute teachers.

Below are the SDP schools shifting to remote:

  • Academy At Palumbo
  • Add B. Anderson School
  • Alexander McClure School
  • Allen M. Stearne School
  • Anna B. Day School
  • Anna L. Lingelbach School
  • Bache-Martin School
  • Baldi Middle School
  • Benjamin B. Comegys School
  • Benjamin Franklin Elementary School
  • Benjamin Franklin High School
  • Cayuga School
  • Charles W. Henry School
  • Constitution High School
  • Cook-Wissahickon School
  • Crossroads @ Hunting Park
  • E.W. Rhodes Elementary School
  • Dr. Ethel Allen School
  • Feltonville Arts & Sciences
  • Feltonville Intermediate
  • Fox Chase School
  • Franklin Learning Center
  • Gen. George G. Meade School
  • George Sharswood School
  • Gilbert Spruance School
  • Grover Washington Jr. Middle
  • Hamilton Disston School
  • Hancock Demonstration School
  • Henry C. Lea School
  • Henry W. Lawton School
  • High School Of The Future
  • Hon. Luis Munoz-Marin School
  • Howe Academics Plus School
  • Hampton Moore School
  • James G. Blaine School
  • James Logan School
  • Jenks Academy Arts & Sciences
  • John Bartram High School
  • Joseph Greenberg School
  • Jules Mastbaum High School
  • Julia De Burgos Elementary School
  • Laura H. Carnell School
  • Lewis C. Cassidy Academics Plus
  • Lewis Elkin School
  • Mayfair School
  • Middle Years Alternative
  • Mitchell Elementary School
  • Morton McMichael School
  • Murrell Dobbins High School
  • Overbrook Educational Center
  • Overbrook Elementary School
  • Overbrook High School
  • Paul Robeson High School
  • Penrose School
  • Philadelphia Military Academy
  • Prince Hall School
  • Randolph Technical High School
  • Richard Wright School
  • Robert B. Pollock School
  • Robert E. Lamberton Elementary
  • Robert Morris School
  • Roberto Clemente Middle School
  • Rowen School
  • Russell H. Conwell Middle School
  • Samuel Gompers School
  • Samuel Pennypacker School
  • Samuel Powel School
  • Science Leadership Academy @ Beeber
  • Southwark School
  • Tanner Duckrey School
  • Thomas Mifflin School
  • Thomas G. Morton School
  • Thomas Holme School
  • Thomas K. Finletter School
  • Thomas M. Peirce School
  • Warren G. Harding Middle School
  • William D. Kelley School
  • William H. Loesche School
  • William H. Ziegler School
  • William McKinley School
  • Woodrow Wilson Middle School

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect four additional schools going virtual.

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