Philadelphia‘s City Council Committee on Children and Youth and Education is opening a space for hearing concerns and questions from residents regarding the school reopening plan. The City Officials are hosting a joint hearing Wednesday to gather public input and prioritize a safety plan for reopening school buildings.
The City Council Committee says they intend to engage with the School District of Philadelphia, the school board, and the school communities they serve.
As reported by The Philadelphia Tribune, Councilmember Helen Gym said their role is to ensure the creation of a confident plan. “The hearing brings multiple stakeholders to the same table. The (School District of Philadelphia) is responsible for delivering a plan that engenders the confidence of the children, families, and staff that the District serves. Our role in Council is to ensure that they do this with clarity, integrity, responsibility, and in dialogue.”
According to Gym, the Children and Youth Committee chair, “Public trust and public engagement on this issue is the most important aspect of school reopening.”
Gym wants to see the District develop a reopening plan that includes parents and the community.
“Reopening of schools is the first mass public outreach service to affirmatively reach communities who have long been neglected throughout the COVID crisis,” she said. “This is a chance to serve families who should know more, not less, about the safety of their school building.
Safe conditions to get back
“There is nothing more important than a public conversation about how we help get our children back safely into the classroom,” said Councilmember Maria Quinones Sanchez.
Quinones-Sanchez serves as the City Council Committee Chair of Education. Her work has focused on working with stakeholders to create a new model and equitable policy for Philadelphia.
The Council Comitte hearing will stream live at 2 p.m. at phlcouncil.com/watch-city-council/ and will be available to watch on Xfinity Channel 64, Fios Channel 4. Council expects to hear testimonies from parents, staff, school district officials, school board members, and local unions that represent school staff.