School district preparing for long-term COVID-19 closure

Public school officials plan to buy 50,000 laptops and distribute even more to students as the district prepares for what could be a long-term closure due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Officials are not pulling the plug on the school year yet, but it’s becoming increasingly likely classes won’t resume, as the coronavirus pandemic intensifies in Philadelphia.

“We don’t know whether or not school will resume this year,” Mayor Jim Kenney said Wednesday. “We take it day-by-day, hour-by-hour.”

Gov. Tom Wolf ordered schools statewide to remain closed through Monday, April 6, though School District of Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite said city schools would likely need at least another week to prepare to reopen.

“It is highly likely that we could be out for a much longer term, so, with that in mind, we are actively preparing for a long-term closure,” Hite said in a Facebook Live address to parents, teachers and others.

“Our first concern is to keep our children and school staff and communities safe,” he said. 

Hite said more information on the duration of the closure would be released Friday or over the weekend following the Board of Education’s Thursday evening meeting.

At that meeting, Hite

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