PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As school districts across our area create and approve reopening plans for the fall, many parents are looking for different options.
“It’s a weird year for every school in Pennsylvania and it certainly has been for us,” said Brian Hayden who is the CEO of PA Cyber Charter.
Hayden told KDKA that more families are turning to Cyber Charter options this fall.
“That is primarily being driven by the mask requirement. Parents with younger children that are in kindergarten through 5th grade either don’t want their kids to wear a mask or don’t think they can wear a mask all day,” Hayden said.
Hayden describes the cyber charter’s uptick in enrollment as explosive.
“We are getting over 1,000 inquires per week from families from all across Pennsylvania,” Hayden said.
In fact, some elementary school grade levels are already at capacity.
“We do have class sizes, live instruction in many cases. We have one teacher and so many students. Much like traditional school, we can’t stuff 60 kids into a classroom,” Hayden said.
Cameo Cullen from Uniontown said she has an admissions meeting this week for her kids.
“Kids need stability and routine. The UASD is still unsure what it’s reopening plan is. I need to be sure my kids have a teacher, not me and a regular daily schedule,” Cullen said.
She’s not alone. Holli Fisher told KDKA she is enrolling her 6th grader in cyber charter because it’s the best move for her whole family.
“My daughter and I both have asthma and I am not going to be spending the whole school year in a constant state of anxiety wondering if she is going to bring it home,” Fisher said.
While not everyone will get a spot, Hayden said be patient because all 14 cyber charters in the state are experiencing the same spike.
“We just hope we can meet the needs of all the thousands and thousands of families who are contacting us,” Hayden said.
Hayden said they have enrollment appointments scheduled through the end of August. Their capacity is about 12,000 students and currently they already have over 11,000 enrolled.
Typically when school starts there are under 10,000 students enrolled with the peak enrollment period in August.