PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Schools are back in session around Pittsburgh Public. About 4,800 students went back into the classroom for the first time in more than a year.
At Pittsburgh King, 55 students started back today and they were greeted with a sign reminding them of the safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout the district.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Public Schools Teachers Prep Classrooms For Some Students To Return After Spring Break
“I didn’t sleep a wink last night. This has been a year in the making since the students were last in the building,” Pittsburgh King Principal Nathan Berkowitz said.
All Pre-K, Kindergarten, and students who struggled with online learning were welcomed back.
“The best place to be for our kids, I always say, is in front of our teachers in the classroom, interacting with each other,” Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet said. “Making sure they are assimilating to their new schools.”
It comes as COVID-19 cases have recently been on the rise in the area. Dr. Hamlet said the majority of the staff and faculty got vaccinated. Other precautions call for mask wearing and social distancing.
“We want to make sure that our children and our faculty and staff and the community are as safe as possible,” Dr. Hamlet said.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Public Schools Sets Return Date For Last 2 Groups Of Students
Currently, the district is on a hybrid schedule of Monday-Tuesday or Thursday-Friday with Wednesday being a deep cleaning day.
“Teachers are superheroes. They’re always asked to do the unbelievable and the unthinkable and they’re going to rise to the occasion,” Berkowitz said.
Dr. Hamlet said there will be a COVID-19 slide to a summer slide with learning. The district will push for more resources over the summer.
The district usually has about 1,500-2,000 students in their summer programs. Dr. Hamlet said it could be closer to 5-6,000 this year. He also wants to see investments in their after-school tutoring and a possible weekend program.
“We want to make sure that academics is the focus but also bring in those social and emotional learning aspects and mental health of our students developing relationships,” Dr. Hamlet said.MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Public Schools Says It Plans To Keep Students 6 Feet Apart When In-Person Instruction Resumes Next Week
As for the remaining students, 5,200 students will start their hybrid learning on April 26, and another 10,000 will head back on May 3.