PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In just a matter of days, colleges, universities and adult basic education programs across the state will begin to allow in-person instruction for both yellow and green counties.
And elementary and secondary schools won’t be far behind.
K-12 schools can begin in-person instruction starting July 1 while colleges and universities can begin as early as this Friday.
It’s considered a starting point for educators. For K-12 schools, each district must draft a health and safety plan before students can return.
“The guidance being released today was heavily informed by CDC guidelines as well as the Pa. Department of Health and other medical professionals,” said Matt Stem, Deputy Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Education. “It includes topics such as cleaning, sanitizing, ventilation and hygiene practices among others.”
The plan must be approved by the district school board, then submitted to the state Department of Education to be reviewed. Once students and teachers head back to school— what will social distancing look like?
“When we look at six feet between individuals as an acceptable space, that will vary depending on the size of the classroom,” said Pedro Rivera, Secretary of the state Department of Education. “So we’re not providing specificity [on] class size, but the space should be considered as we approach social distancing and meet those guidelines.”
The reopening plans for post-secondary schools like colleges, universities and adult education will be a little different.
In red phase counties, schools can only be open for in-person instruction for specific medical, nursing and clinical health training programs.
There will be limited on-campus instruction for yellow counties, but administrators must develop strategies to promote the health and safety of everyone. And there will be more freedom to fully resume in person reaching for colleges and universities in the green.
So what if parents aren’t ready to send those kids back to school just yet?
“One of the considerations under the plan is understanding that not every family may want to or be able to send their kids physically back to school,” Rivera said. “So that is one of the considerations school districts are giving to families.”