Philly superintendent pledges every student will have internet access for online start

Superintendent William Hite
Photo credit Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

“We’re going to treat it like the Chromebooks,” Hite said. “Every student that needs it will have it.”

In a Zoom session with reporters, Hite said when classes begin Sept. 2, attendance will be taken and students will be graded.

“This is going to be school,” Hite said. “Which means the days are going to be more structured. What we’re asking teachers to do is going to be more structured.”

Special education instruction would be done virtually, Hite said.

Hite said the district was working with the city to arrange supervised locations where students could be dropped off to log-on and learn.  

Hite also said it’s possible that teachers may work from their classrooms if they choose to. 

“We’re already getting requests from some teachers who have said, ‘Can I do this from my classroom?’ ” he said.“If in fact that classroom is cleared, they could actually do that.”

Hite’s original hybrid plan had students in school two days a week. He said as more than 100 people at last Thursday’s eight-hour school board meeting opposed in-person classes as unsafe, he reconsidered. 

“It was sometime during the meeting when — I wasn’t making the decision to go away for the hybrid plan, I was making the decision to stop and consider all of the information that we were hearing from the meeting,” Hite said.

The school board reconvenes its recessed meeting Thursday at 4 p.m. to vote on the new all-virtual plan.