Philly’s coronavirus response

Will school work this year? Philly students and teachers share hopes and fears

Online learning feels safest, but it can also have drawbacks.

Mustafa Aboud / Billy Penn

💌 Love Philly? Sign up for the free Billy Penn email newsletter to get everything you need to know about Philadelphia, every day.

Schools are some of the most densely-packed places in modern society, so in light of pandemic social distancing, districts across the nation have come up with alternative learning plans.

After first rolling out a hybrid education model, the School District of Philadelphia changed course and is now planning online only. But Philly students, parents and teachers are still full of worry — and it seems like there’s little chance of finding a solution that can satisfy everyone.

“If you contract this virus, you wouldn’t know for weeks,” said Miracle Smith, a junior at Penn Treaty High, asked how she’d feel about attending class in person. “You might pass that on to somebody else and you wouldn’t know until the symptoms start to show up.”

On the other side, there are concerns about how effective virtual classrooms can be, especially for certain students or subjects.

“I go to an art school,” said Kaitlyn Rodriguez, a sophomore at Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. “I feel like online wouldn’t be as beneficial for art or ceramics.”

Then there’s the fact that some teachers are also parents, with kids who go to school in districts that do have in-person learning.

“There are a lot of teachers who are also parents,” said Yomari Kiefer, a teacher at Penn Treaty. “My kids…as of last week they’re slated to go full-time. It could change at any given time, and then what do I do when they’re home?”

Want some more? Explore other Philly’s coronavirus response stories.

Mornings in the know

Sign up for Billy Penn’s free morning newsletter for a daily roundup of Philadelphia’s most pressing news, top interesting stories, fun tidbits, and relevant events.

Thanks for reading another Billy Penn article!

We don’t have a paywall, and never will. Instead, we depend on readers like you to keep our newsroom jamming on stories about Philadelphia. If you like what you see, will you support our work?

Thanks for reading a Billy Penn story

We don’t have a paywall, and our daily newsletter is free. Instead, YOU are key to keeping our nonprofit newsroom running strong. If you like what you see, will you join as a member today?

This story was powered by readers

Readers like you make articles like this possible, so thanks for your support. Want to make sure we stick around? Become a sustainer with a recurring contribution!

Tell a friend about Billy Penn

Thanks for reading another article — and we’re grateful for your support! Want to help a friend start their day with Billy Penn? Send them to our newsletter signup page.