PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The last two groups of Pittsburgh Public Schools students now have a definitive date for returning to the classroom.
Pittsburgh Public Schools walked parents through how the reopening process will happen for their students Tuesday.
Teachers and staff are inside of school buildings for the first time in months this week. The first group of students is expected to join them on April 6.
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The reopening plans place students into four categories, starting with children identified as having the highest level of need getting the top priority.
This first group of students to return will be pre-K and kindergarten students, as well as students who haven’t shown any progress with remote learning. The second group of students is expected to return to the classroom on April 26.
The district says the last two groups will return to the classrooms beginning May 3. Students will be in a hybrid learning model.
“The idea is that we want to engage students online and in the classroom with this particular teacher,” said Minika Jenkins, the chief academic officer of Pittsburgh Public Schools. “And then while she engages students together online, there is an opportunity for them to break.”
There will be daily screening measures, 6 feet of social distancing and PPE for students and staff.
On buses, there will be two people to a seat and students will have to wear masks. The number of students allowed on the bus will depend on its size.
All students will also be given their own personal electronic devices. Any student that tests positive for COVID-19 will have to quarantine for 14 days and can’t return until they are asymptomatic for 24 hours.
But they’ll be given ample time to complete and return any makeup work.
“You should still be allowed the same opportunity for the number of days that you’re out for COVID. You should have the number of days to be able to make up the work as well,” said Jenkins. “We’ll just reinforce that if that’s something that does not consistently happen across the district.”
Teachers didn’t want to go back until they got the COVID-19 vaccine. Now, the opportunity to get vaccinated has been given to teachers through mass vaccination clinics. Officials said 80 percent of PPS staff have received a COVID-19 vaccine.
So far, the school district has purchased over 200 air purifiers to improve ventilation through the schools. A decision has also been made to keep students six feet apart instead of the CDC’s recommendation of three feet.