PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Today is the last day of school for kids in Pittsburgh Public Schools, the largest district in our region with 23,000 children.

KDKA’s Kristine Sorensen asked Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet about how he feels the remote learning went.

“Ah, I would say it went. It didn’t go well for our first time. No, this first time we had bumps in the road, but we embraced the notion of continuous improvement so we learned, and we got better as a result.”

Dr. Hamlet says the biggest challenge was half of Pittsburgh Public Schools students did not have a laptop or internet access to be able to access online learning.

But by fall, all kids will have access thanks to donations for purchases of laptops and internet access.

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But what will school look like in the fall when the CDC says kids should be six feet apart, on buses and in classrooms?

“The classrooms are pretty much jam-packed – about 20-25 students in the classrooms,” Dr. Hamlet says, “and so we’re going through this exercise right now to actually space out our guests and see how many students can actually fit in those classrooms to begin to come up with some hybrid model.”

Five committees with the “All In Campaign to Re-Open Pittsburgh Public Schools” are working to figure out a plan for the new school year.

But Dr. Hamlet says there’s going to be what he’s calling a “Second Semester Learning Slide” because of COVID-19 and doing school at home.

“We’re already thinking ahead to some after-school programs and in-school interventions that we can put in place to really bolster and support our student growth.”

The school district will also continue their free meals at most of the “Grab and Go” sites because the parks and recreation department is not opening as many sites as usual this summer.

Kristine Sorensen