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Whether In-Person Or Virtual, Several Charter Schools In Philadelphia Begin A Different School Year

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Some charter school students in Philadelphia went back to class Monday. But this year is very different from years past.

For hundreds of kids around Philadelphia, the first day of school began without the fanfare of walking into a classroom.

Ad Prima Charter School in Mt. Airy began the year with virtual learning. Kitchen tables replaced school desks and teachers and students connected via the internet.

Students in grades K-5 at Discovery Charter School in West Philadelphia began in-person classes, wearing their required masks. Many had first-day jitters.

"Caleb's pretty nervous but I think it will be a great day overall. And it's his birthday so this is a lot of excitement," parent Christina Owens said.

Parents dropping their kids off are mindful of COVID-19 concerns heading into this school year.

"Comfortable thinking I know the school did everything to protect the children as much as possible. I feel like he'll have a good day once they get the swing of things of how things are supposed to go. I think everything should work out well," parent Iesha Thomas said.

School officials have reduced class sizes, implemented social distancing guidelines and other safety measures to protect children.

"The staff members have to, of course, wear masks and shields, they have to socially distance. All the teachers have touchless thermometers to read each student as they come into the class," a school official said.

Whether in-person or virtual learning, this school year is off to a very different start.

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