School begins online Aug. 31 for all but kindergarten.By Kristine Sorensen

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Teachers in Pittsburgh Public Schools have started training for remote learning.

The biggest challenge facing Pittsburgh Public Schools is getting computers and internet access to all 23,000 children. Up until school begins online on Aug. 31 for all but kindergarten, families are getting school-issued computers, and Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet says that will allow for more synchronous learning.

“That’s the biggest difference, which is the gamechanger, and there’s nothing that takes the place of a teacher being in front of students actually teaching them,” Dr. Hamlet says.

The district has ordered enough computers so every child will have one. But because of backorders, they need anyone who owns a computer to use their own for the next few months.

Dr. Hamlet says school will look more like a traditional day, with regular start times and some live classes. They’re working on mindfulness, like meditation and yoga, to help with the challenge of being online only.

“Some of our schools, you start off the day with social-emotional routines, having this check-in time, and really getting kids acclimated to actually being in this online space,” Dr. Hamlet says.

Sometimes, it’s hard for everyone to believe how much about school has changed in a few short months.

“This is unbelievable, unprecedented,” Dr. Hamlet said. “As people have heard before, you know, we’re in uncharted waters right now, how we navigate this pandemic.”

Anyone who still has a Pittsburgh Public Schools computer needs to exchange it for an updated one with new computer programs. Those exchanges and laptop distributions are happening over the next 10 days.

The district also wants parents to fill out a transportation survey.

Kristine Sorensen