The Philadelphia School District announced on Friday that 46 of its schools will switch to virtual learning as the omicron variant and a winter storm take a toll on staffing.
"Based on today's data review, we know that at least 46 schools definitely will be 100% virtual next week, Monday, January 10th through Friday, January 14th, 2022," William Hite, the superintendent of Philadelphia'a school district, said in a statement.
The district will continue to make daily assessments on a school-by-school basis taking into consideration COVID-related staffing data, temporary measures schools can make and how central office staff can be deployed to maintain safe and orderly school environments, Hite said.
The district will be monitoring staffing data over the weekend and will provide another update by Sunday at 4 p.m., according to Hite. Next week, they will offer updates at least twice a day, he said.
"Staffing challenges due to the Omicron surge coupled with the winter storm have made this an incredibly challenging first week back to school for the 2022 new year," Hite said. "We will continue to keep as many of our school buildings open as consistently as possible as long as we are confident we can do so safely."
On Tuesday, the number of grab-and-go meal sites in Philadelphis schools and other locations throughout the city will double in number, from 12 to 24. Students who are quarantining or whose schools have gone virtual can pick up five-day breakfast and lunch meal boxes.
"We are doing everything we can to safely keep as many of our schools open as consistently as possible for our students and families. By continuing to work together, and by being flexible and patient with one another along the way, we can help our young people through these difficult times," Hite said.