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School Districts Throughout Philadelphia Region Grappling With Whether To Bring Students Back As COVID Cases Explode

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- As COVID cases rise and concerns over a post-holiday surge continue, several school districts across our region have a tough decision to make before classes start back up: Revert back to remote learning or return to classes in-person.

With COVID cases exploding throughout the region, fueled by the highly transmissible omicron variant, school districts are grappling with whether to return students to in-person learning after the holiday break.

The Garnet Valley School District in Delaware County will be returning students to the classroom next week but will be monitoring cases in the area very closely.

"Clearly we're not going to ignore the current trends so we'll continue to collect information and if the data shows us that we need to adjust our plan then we will," Garnet Valley School District Superintendent Dr. Marc Bertrando said.

School officials are touting continued mask mandates for students and staff for keeping community spread within buildings at bay, but they've also added another layer of protection.

"We've also now added a testing clinic that has been getting quite a large volume of traffic," Bertrando said.

With current COVID cases affecting young school-aged children even more, other districts are deciding to return to virtual learning.

The Camden City School District will not return to class after the holiday break. Virtual learning will begin on Jan. 3 and run for two weeks. Imhotep Charter School in West Oak Lane will also return to virtual learning next week.

The School District of Philadelphia is continuing with plans to bring students back for in-person learning after the winter break on Jan. 4.

Sixth-grader Axel Vargas is excited to head back to school in Montgomery County.

"It's good to go to school because the teachers can actually help you and you can actually understand. And in virtual it's kinda confusing," Axel said.

Some parents do believe school districts should be erring on the side of caution with rising COVID cases.

"I think they need to be cautious, I think they need to mask up. I think they need to be concerned about being vaccinated and keeping their distance. I think there's still a threat that we need to be conscious of," parent Tom Tabor said.

Pennsauken, New Jersey schools will also be going virtual next week.

In Delaware, Gov. John Carney says with mask mandates in place in schools he sees no reason why students can't return to in-person learning next week.

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