Thousands of Philly students opt for online-only classes on first day of registration

Online school instruction
Photo credit RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images
By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia School District parents concerned about COVID-19 are already choosing the new all-digital learning option for their children this fall.

The district Wednesday rolled out its completely virtual Digital Academy as an alternative to its hybrid back-to-school plan. Already, 2,000 students were signed up on the first day of registration, district academics chief Malika Savoy-Brooks told reporters.

“Based on the surveys that the district facilitated in June, we were expecting about 20% of our population,” she said. “As of (Thursday) morning, we had 2,000 registering.”

The district has 125,000 students. Superintendent William Hite told reporters he’s concerned about the academic impact of continuing classes online.

“Families asked us to have a virtual choice. We all understand what that means,” Hite said. “But for our most vulnerable children and the most vulnerable families, I’m very concerned about individuals falling further behind.” 

The district last week unveiled its hybrid back-to-school plan, with students physically in school buildings two days a week. In a Zoom conference with reporters, Hite stressed that the plan could change based on the progress of the pandemic. He also said if the School Board isn’t comfortable with the hybrid plan, it could force an all-digital return to school.​