The union and the district say they are in talks with UPMC and the Allegheny County Health Department to vaccinate the staff, but a watchdog group says there's no plan.By Andy Sheehan

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – While most districts across the region have been offering at least the choice of classroom learning, Pittsburgh Public Schools is considering again moving back the start day — this time until April 6. The teachers union says it’s the wise thing to do.

“We’re just saying we’d like to wait for the vaccinations for the safety of our students and our members,” said union president Nina Esposito-Visgitis.

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In a letter to school board president Sylvia Wilson, the union executive committee said: “Overall, we find that our membership is anxious to get back to their students, but they want to do it safely, once they have been vaccinated with both doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.”

After hearing from parents Monday night, the board will vote on Wednesday whether to delay, but the watchdog group A-Plus Schools cites falling academic scores and more than 4,000 failing students as a pressing need for a quicker return.

“We feel abandoned as a community by this board. They keep telling us one thing, keep saying, ‘oh, well next time we’ll get there.’ Well, you have no backup plan. Especially for students with the greatest needs,” said James Fogarty, the director.

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The union and the district say they are in talks with UPMC and the Allegheny County Health Department to vaccinate the staff but there is no plan in place, and A-Plus fears it will even further delay the start of classroom learning.

“So, don’t lie to us and say it’s April 6th. Be straight with us and level with us as parents and community members who care about the kids in the school system,” Fogarty said.

Still, the proposal seems to have strong support among board members even if Wilson isn’t one of them.

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“I feel students should be back in school. That’s my personal view. But I’m one person out of nine on the board,” she said.