Reopening of Schools - Overview

  • On November 10th, Dr. McGarry provided his monthly report to the Board of School Directors.  During his report, he discussed a possible return to in-person instruction for students in grades K-3 in a flexible cohort model on January 19, 2021.  This decision will be based on positivity rate and the number of incidences per 100,000 residents following winter break.  The District will provide families with a decision regarding reopening of schools in the flexible/in-person, cohort instructional model two weeks in advance of any final decision.  Please click HERE to view Dr. McGarry’s pandemic school reopening plan update provided at the November 10, 2020 School Board meeting.


    Dr. McGarry provided another update to families in an email on November 23, 2020.  Click HERE to view this communication.  Please note the following important updates to the pandemic reopening of schools plan shared in the November 23rd email:


    • ALL STUDENTS IN GRADES K-12 will be in VIRTUAL LEARNING effective Monday, November 30th to January 18th.  This includes K-12 low incidence programs of Life Skills Support, Autistic Support and Multi-Disability Support at Hillcrest Elementary, Westbrook Park Elementary, Primos Elementary, Drexel Hill Middle, and Upper Darby High School. 


    • In-person instruction for students in K-12 low incidence programs of life skills support, autistic support, multi-disability support at Hillcrest Elementary, Westbrook Park Elementary, Primos Elementary, Drexel Hill Middle, and Upper Darby High School will resume on January 19th.  These K-12 low incident programs will pause from November 30 to January 18th with a start date of January 19th.


    • Our goal is to return students in GRADES K-3 ONLY to the cohort/flexible/in-person instruction model on January 19, 2021.  Accomplishing this will require that all teachers use the November 30, 2020 through January 14, 2021 time period as an opportunity to RESET, that is, to put their affairs in order so that they successfully quarantine in preparation for a return to in-person instruction.  We are also enacting an all-hands-on-deck approach in order to execute this plan for our K-3 students, low incidence special education programs, and their families. This will require that we use our resources strategically as we work through staffing schools appropriately for the January 19th start.


    • All teachers and staff in grades K-12 are required to return to their respective school buildings on January 15, 2021, as we are still required to meet state-mandates around standardized testing.


    We will continue to monitor COVID-19 positivity rates and community transmission cases per 100,000 and to use this data to inform our decision-making.  Our intent is to provide notification to families two weeks in advance.  Given the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, any notifications will be as close to the two-week deadline as possible.




    November 30 - December 23 

    Virtual/at-home learning continues for all students K-12.

    December 24 - January 3

    Winter Break - Offices and Schools Closed

    January 4 - January 14

    Virtual/at-home learning learning resumes for all students K-12.

    January 15

    All teachers and staff report back to buildings.

    January 19

    K-3 students and K-12 Low Incidence Programs in Autisitc Support, Life Skills Support and Multi-Disability Support return for cohort/flexible/in-person instruction

    Grades 4-5, Middle, and High Schools Students continue in virtual/at-home learning.


     We are aware that the pandemic, along with racial tensions in our country, and the transition to virtual learning has been stressful for our students and families.  We recognize the social and emotional toll all of this has had on our students, staff, and community.  We understand it is important to have students in front of teachers and that the social and supportive benefits that come with in-person instruction are priceless.  These issues are complex and ever-changing.  We want to navigate this difficult time with care, and balance the safety and health of our students and our staff during this COVID-19 pandemic.  In lieu of these complexities, the District intends to respond to school reopening with continued flexibility.


    Again, we thank you for your patience and continued engagement as we work through the District's plan to reopen our schools.