COVID-19 has changed what “back to school” means for most Philadelphia students and their families. As classes resume, the City and partners have created new programs to support students’ learning and their families’ stability.
Read on for resources that your family can use.
PHLConnectED will connect up to 35,000 K-12 student households in Philadelphia with free internet service. The program will offer eligible student households up to two years of high-speed internet. Participants will not pay any out-of-pocket expenses or installation fees.
If you don’t have internet access at home and need it for your K-12 student, call the PHLConnectED hotline by dialing 211.
For more information, visit phila.gov/phlconnected
If you work outside of your home and can’t afford or access childcare for your child (grades K-6), you may be eligible to register with an Access Center. The City and community partners will open dozens of Access Centers to provide supervised, connected spaces where children entering K-6th grade can participate in digital learning provided by their school.
Access centers are not drop-in centers. Families must begin registration by filling out the registration interest form or calling the registration line (215-709-5366) or, and must receive confirmation of their eligibility and registration in order to bring their child to an Access Center.
Access Centers will begin serving students on Tuesday, September 8.
For more information, including a map of sites, visit phila.gov/AccessCenters.
Childcare for school-age children
Childcare is available for school-age children through programs across the city. Philadelphia’s Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) can help you find a childcare program and apply for a subsidy.
Visit philadelphiaelrc18.org or call 1-888-461-KIDS (1-889-461-5437)
If your child is 3 or 4 years old as of September 1, they are eligible for free, quality pre-K funded by the City of Philadelphia. Visit the PHLpreK website to choose from over 130 locations and learn more. You can also call 844-PHL-PREK (844-745-7735) for help finding a quality pre-K program. There are no income restrictions for this program.
Mental health supports
“The new normal” is anything but normal. The pandemic has been tough on everyone, and the transition to the school year means new challenges and stress for children and families. You can check out the #mindPHL blog for advice, like how to combat Social Isolation in Children During COVID-19.
- If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, contact the City’s Crisis Hotline phone, 24/7, at 215-685-6440
- If you’re feeling overwhelmed, alone, or just need to talk, call Pennsylvania’s statewide support line at 1-855-284-2494 to speak to skilled and compassionate staff who can help.
Support for families
- Visit phila.gov/food to find free, healthy food for you and your family.
- You are not alone: Resources for families during COVID-19
- The School District of Philadelphia and Uplift Center for Grieving Children are providing the Philly HopeLine, offering counseling services for students, parents, and guardians. Call or text 1-833-PHL-HOPE (1-833-745-4673), Monday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday, and holidays from 12 p.m to 4 p.m.
- Need back to school supplies? The School District and partners are hosting a Back-to-School Drive-Thru Backpack Giveaway on Friday, August 28 at Lincoln Financial Field, K Lot. Learn more: philasd.org/face/backpacks