PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – More schools are making the move to remote learning as the level of community transmission continues to rise.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s recommendations, all but one county in the state should be using full-time remote learning.
As coronavirus case numbers continue to rise, parents are concerned that students are not getting an education.
“It’s been heartbreaking for these kids, especially for the little learners,” said Cait Riley.
Riley’s daughter is in the first grade at North Allegheny School District.
“If you can’t read by the time you are in the second grade, you have problems for life. You are proven to become basically a failure in society if you cannot learn to read,” Riley said.
Local districts have control over what learning model to follow and can stay open if they follow the mitigation efforts.
“We need to do physical distancing, face coverings, cleaning protocols and personal hygiene. Then we would fear there would be transmission levels that wouldn’t just affect our educator workforce at the school with the students but also the individuals these students interact with,” said Noe Ortega, the acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Education.
Riley is concerned that those state recommendations are not equal for all school districts.
“Because I live in a large district or my child goes to a larger school and they aren’t able to social distance at lunch to the directive of the state Health Department, then they aren’t able to go back to school full time. That just doesn’t make sense,” Riley said.
Moving forward with rising case numbers, what happens to in-person learning?
“Feeling this much anxiety over a school schedule, it’s absurd at this point. We are very concerned districts won’t even be able to go back before the end of the school year at this point,” Riley said.
Ortega did not give a clear picture on Monday for parents. He said the end of the year will be a time for districts to step up the efforts to create better hybrid and remote systems for the spring.
While the decision to stay open comes from each local school district, it does not come without oversight from the state.
Ortega said if a district does not abide by the mitigation efforts, the state will force them into full remote and all sports will be canceled for that district.
North Allegheny School District also announced Monday that students K-5 will return to five-day-per-week instruction on Dec. 7th.