Pittsburgh Public Schools Share Details for School Reopening

School board will vote on a back-to-school plan on July 22.
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PITTSBURGH SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT ANTHONY HAMLET IN FEB. 2018 | PHOTO BY MARTHA RIAL

Pittsburgh Public Schools has shared preliminary plans for reopening this fall. The district rolled out more than 400 reopening recommendations in its report “All In to Reopen Our Schools,” one of which would allow parents the choice of sending their children to school for in-person classes or to continue online instruction for the 2020-21 school year. 

For students and staff members who return to school buildings, masks will be required and they must practice social distancing. Students will also be required to sit one to a seat on school buses. 

Different schedules are also being discussed for in-person instruction. One option would be a schedule where some students would attend school Monday and Tuesday and participate in e-learning on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, while another group of students attend school on Thursday and Friday and have e-learning Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  

There will be no in-school instruction at the Gifted Center, however, and all classes will be held virtually. The district placed a July 20 deadline for parents to decide whether they want their children to learn online, in person or to take part in a hybrid model.  

The district is switching to Schoology — a virtual learning system — with the integrated use of Microsoft Teams to support communications. Schoology is already used at the Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy and is said to be rated highly for its ease of use, accessibility, technical integration and content management. 

Officials say the unpredictability of the pandemic means that plans could change. Superintendent Anthony Hamlet says starting the school year entirely online is not out of the question if COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Allegheny County. 

“Our number one priority is the health and safety of our students and staff,” Hamlet says. “We will only reopen schools when we can assure our families, students and staff that all social distancing and health and safety measures are in place and can be followed.”

The school board is set to vote on a final return-to-school plan on July 22. 

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