PPS students have been attending online-only classes since March.By Shelby Cassesse

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Public Schools board approved a resolution that would give superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet the ability to implement a hybrid learning plan.

The resolution passed with a vote of eight yeses, zero nos and one abstention. Hybrid learning will not begin until next semester.

“These decisions impact all,” Hamlet said. “Some may like it, some may not, but ultimately, we’re trying to make the best decisions of our students, our faculty and staff and our community at large.”

In-person learning will start Nov. 9. Per the resolution, that in-person learning would be for special needs students, medically fragile students, English learners and other student groups. Those students are in cohort D in the district’s AA/BB/C/D blended model. Cohort D’s student groups will follow an in-person model that features four days of in-person learning beginning Nov. 9.

“Students in Cohorts AA and BB will remain in full-time E-Learning until in-person instruction begins no earlier than January 4, 2021, and no later than January 25,” the district said in a release. “Families who choose to remain in full-time E-Learning will continue and may opt into in-person instruction no earlier than January 25.”

The district says the students in cohorts AA and BB will spend two days learning in school and three days learning remotely beginning January 2021, depending on when their in-person instruction begins. Families who have chosen to remain in full-time online learning will be in cohort C.

“I don’t think, with the cases today higher than they were seven months ago when we started this journey, that it would make any logical sense to anybody listening as to why we would reopen schools,” said Kevin Carter, the board vice president.

The district said as of Monday, 15,488 students have enrolled to return for in-school hybrid instruction, while 5,889 students have enrolled for full-time remote learning. The district says 84 of its 2,000 teachers have applied for a leave of absence.

Nina Esposito-Visgitis, president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, says there’s a lot to figure out in the next few weeks.

“Where will the teachers be and which teachers will be in? Are some teachers going to be at home? So we have a lot to talk to the district about and talk to teachers about also,” said Esposito-Visgitis.

Pittsburgh Public Schools students have been learning remotely since March.

On Monday night, a public hearing was held and dozens of Pittsburgh Public Schools staff members asked the board to continue a fully remote plan, considering the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the area.

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Some teachers argued that though in-person instruction is better, a hybrid model would be ineffective because the teacher’s attention would be split between the students who are in-person and those who are remote.

A few teachers told our news partners at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that they are scared. They say if it wasn’t safe to go on a hybrid model in August, then students shouldn’t be starting a hybrid model now.

More information can be found below about Pittsburgh Public Schools’ cohort groups.

Cohort AA – Beginning no earlier than January 4, 2021, students in Cohort AA will spend Monday and Tuesday learning in school and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday learning remotely.

Cohort BB – Beginning no earlier than January 4, 2021, students in Cohort BB will learn remotely Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and will spend Thursday and Friday learning in school.

Cohort C – Students in Cohort C will learn remotely five days a week and may opt into in-person instruction no earlier than January 25, 2021.

Cohort D – Students in newly defined Cohort D will begin in-person instruction, four days a week, starting November 9, 2020. Based off new criteria approved this evening, Cohort D will be formulated, and school principals will notify families of affected students.

Shelby Cassesse