Philly school district says return to in-person classes might include COVID-19 testing

By KYW Newsradio 1060

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The School District of Philadelphia is exploring the possibility of administering coronavirus tests when students return to school buildings.

Superintendent William Hite said the district is investigating whether it’s feasible to do some kind of COVID-19 testing when students return for hybrid classes in mid-November.

Hite said he doesn’t know if testing would be random or required of everyone.

“The most critical thing is making sure we get the results quickly. It can’t be a two-week turnaround,” Hite said in a Zoom session with reporters. “Because we’re in early investigations on that, I have no idea what that will look like and whether it will be required of everyone or just random or not.”

Hite said the district is watching other big cities that have announced COVID-19 testing in schools.

“New York is planning to do that, and L.A. has done that very well,” he said.  “So there are some districts we can learn from, and we are investigating what it will take in order to put something like that in place here in Philadelphia.”

Hite said there will be a level of “messiness” when individual COVID-19 cases inevitably crop up in schools.  He said any decisions to close individual classrooms or even entire schools will be guided by the recommendations of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.