“They asked if we wanted to have Secretary [Miguel] Cardona come visit with us, and absolutely, I said absolutely,” Olney Elementary School principal Michael Roth said.
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It was a welcome visit to Olney Elementary School from the U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
Staff at Olney say the secretary got a firsthand glimpse at students in the midst of their hybrid learning day. They also discussed the current needs of schools operating during the pandemic.
“With some of the current initiatives from the Biden administration and Secretary Cardona, we have seen additional resources coming into the schools and the school district,” Roth said.
Pennsylvania is receiving $5 billion in federal funding to address education. State education leaders held a briefing Wednesday on the heels of Cardona’s visit to Philadelphia as they continue to address the needs of local schools.
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“Once we move into in-person instruction, we want to ensure we create conditions that allow for schools to remain openly safely as well,” Pennsylvania Education Secretary Noe Ortega said, “and a lot of this is going to come into understanding what to do at the local level.”
Olney Elementary School officials believe they were chosen for the visit because of their facilities, a 120-year-old building with a splintered campus. The needs are great if reopening in the fall is to happen safely.
“We are currently in three separate buildings,” Roth said. “We have four trailers. So we have 900 students and we are spread out over basically three different campuses.”
Right now, about one-third of Olney’s kindergarten-through-second grade students have returned for hybrid in-person learning with the intention of allowing its third through fifth-grade students to return soon. The national spotlight and federal resources may help to make this happen.
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“Parents want students to come back too. They just want to feel like it’s a safe place to send their students to,” said, “and as soon as they feel that way, they’re going forward with it.” assistant principal Martin Woodside said.