PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The possibility of heading back to school this fall is a hot topic across the nation.

Locally, the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers told KDKA the main concern from teachers is wearing masks during in-person learning.

“I can’t imagine being able to teach in a mask all day. I think it will be hot for the children too,” said Nina Esposito-Visgitis, president of the PFT.

The governor’s mandatory mask mandate will apply to teachers and students this fall.

“Most of our buildings are not air-conditioned,” Esposito-Visgitis said.

In fact, the union said about 12 of 55 buildings for Pittsburgh Public Schools have air conditioning. The union is currently researching different options for masks to help with the heat and allow students to get the most out of their education.


“How do you do it? Right now, we are trying to find the best material to get for masks. We are trying to talk to a doctor about the best material for masks,” Esposito-Visgitis said.

One option could be plastic face shields, but the union has concerns on the protection level.

“We are interested in talking to someone in the field about that whether it provides the same coverage because some kids would be afraid of someone in a mask,” Esposito-Visgitis said.

Overall, the union wants teachers to go back to school, but safety is the top priority.