PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — One of the largest school districts presented its plan for its students’ return in the fall.
Parents and guardians heard Pittsburgh Public Schools’ health and safety plan on Monday. The webinar focused on everything from mask-wearing to cleaning protocols.
“We’re asking that all students and staff inside school buildings and also our staff buildings wear a mask at all times,” Mike McNamara, PPS’ interim chief operations officer, said before the webinar. “Outside during recess or outside activities, students and staff can take their masks off.”
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However, some have issues with the guideline. The president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers wishes the district included them in the planning process. Nina Esposito-Visgitis agrees with wearing masks to protect people from coronavirus but says it poses a problem.
“I’ve heard from enough teachers now that it’s very difficult to teach wearing a mask all day in our buildings, many of which are not air-conditioned,” she said.
“It does make it a little more difficult to teach with the masks on, but our number one priority is getting all of our students in school five days a week,” McNamara said.
Parents and the public will be able to comment on the guidelines at the board’s public hearing on July 26.
Now here’s what the plan includes:READ MORE: Pittsburgh Public Schools Releases Plan For Returning To Full In-Person Learning, Including Masks Indoors
- Everyone has to wear a mask.
- Students will have to practice 3 feet of social distancing.
- Adults have to keep 6 feet of space between them when possible.
- Facilities to increase cleaning protocols and improve ventilation.
“You have to remember, they’re kids,” said Denise, whose great-grandchildren go to school in Pittsburgh Public Schools. “You can’t tell them don’t hug, don’t play, don’t wrestle. That’s not going to work too well.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended Monday that all children as young as 2 years old should wear masks when returning to school. Only kids 12 years and older are eligible for the vaccine so far.
One mom with two children who are 5 and under was relieved to hear about the recommendation.
“I was worried about her with some of the masking requirements being lifted recently that perhaps she wouldn’t be protected. I’m very much looking forward to when my kids can be vaccinated,” said Nora DiNuzzo, a North Allegheny School District parent
Students and staff will continue to be educated on proper handwashing and personal hygiene routines.
And last but not least, testing is not required, but staff must report each COVID-19 case, symptom and any close contacts.
“That is the goal, to have all of our students back in school,” said McNamara. “Keep everybody safe. Keep everybody healthy and be in person as much as we can.”
The board will vote on whether to keep this health and safety plan at its meeting on July 28. More information about the district’s plan can be found here.