Philly school board approves more nurses, pledges improvement on transportation, trash and COVID

It’s been exciting to see students back in school, but the district is facing serious challenges.

That was the sentiment several leaders shared at the first Philadelphia Board of Education meeting since all students have been eligible for in-person classes since the beginning of the pandemic.

“It’s been wonderful to see children greeting their teachers and classmates as they enter school and engaging in school activities together after learning remotely from most of the past year,” said Board President Joyce Wilkerson. “While this is such a positive step forward for our students, I’d like to acknowledge some of the challenges we’re facing together as we return to in-person learning.”

Those challenges include the city’s ongoing gun violence crisis that has claimed the lives of multiple students in the past few weeks and numerous school closures due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

They also include a driver shortage that has caused problems for student transportation and waste management.

“The driver shortage…has disrupted our operations beyond what we initially anticipated,” Superintendent William Hite said. “Please know that we are taking this matter very seriously and will continue to explore options until all excess trash is removed from the school sites and timely transportation services for our students are restored.”

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