PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – All Pittsburgh Public School students started classes from home today, other than the seniors who started last week.

That’s 23,000 students, plus thousands more staff and administrators who are already working remotely for the first time, and there are big hurdles to overcome.

We often think of school with a classroom, books and a whiteboard, but now, there’s not a choice but to teach remotely, whether it’s online or with packets delivered to students’ homes.

Stephanie Lackner teaches at Carmalt PreK-8 and is also the school’s technology administrator.

“First thing, I’m worried about their education, as all teachers are, but with our families, today we’re worried about their overall health. How are they feeling? They haven’t seen classmates. Are they only children? Do they have people their age to interact with?”

Yesterday, the district turned off the ability for the teachers to see their kids online because of privacy issues, and they’re still working on a fix.

“Unfortunately, a lot of us had already shared the ability with the parents to reach us through this feature, so we are kind of trying to work around it right now.”

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Lackner says the district is still figuring out how it will all work, as the students begin today.

“It is a Herculean task to get all our content on there. Teachers didn’t know how to use it. Our students and their families don’t know how to use the platform we’re using. So we had to go through training, building and administering all at the same time.”

Despite the hurdles, the teachers remain positive: “They became teachers because they’re resilient. They became teachers because they want to do this. They want to be with the kids every day.”

Kristine Sorensen