Wolf: Pa. schools will not reopen this year because of COVID-19 pandemic

Governor Tom Wolf speaking to reporters.
Photo credit The Office of Governor Tom Wolf via Flickr

UPDATED: 12:53 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered schools closed for the rest of this school year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

KYW Newsradio was on a conference call with Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite when he got a text message with the official word.

"I think that I'm getting dinged right here," he said. "That announcement was just made. So we now know that the schools will remain closed for the remainder of the year."

The news at least provides some certainty for students and teachers, Hite said.

Hite stressed that doesn't mean the school year is over — only that students will not be returning to their school buildings.

"That doesn't change what we intend to do with respect to our remote learning. It does answer a question of whether or not we will be returning to a school building."

He said that's why the district has been distributing 40,000 Chromebooks, so that they can have a virtual education for the rest of this academic year.

Hite says 7,000 teachers have been trained on the Google Classroom platform. He says online enrichment starts April 20, and classes that count toward final grades will begin on May 4.

Pennsylvania joins other states, including Kansas and Virginia, that have shut down their school buildings for the rest of the year because of the pandemic.

State Health Secretary Rachel Levine announced Thursday that there has been an additional 1,989 positive coronavirus cases in the state, bringing the total to 18,228 cases, with 338 deaths in total.