PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Parents of students in the Pittsburgh Public Schools system had a chance to have their voices heard about the district’s health and safety plan for the upcoming fall semester.
On Monday, Harrisburg offered recommendations for the return to school, encouraging vaccines for all students older than 12 years old and face-coverings for those unvaccinated who are older than 2 years old.
Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh Public Schools on Monday, speakers read public comments on the district’s plan, which needs to be submitted to the state. If approved, the plan would include 3 feet of social distancing between students and 6 feet between adults.
“How we are going to accommodate a full classroom of students 3 feet apart? If you have more than 20 or 25 students, that seems pretty much impossible,” one comment said.
The plan would also require all employees and students to wear masks unless outdoors or playing sports.
And with negotiations pending, union president Nina Esposito-Visgitis told KDKA that face-coverings will be the most contentious.
Watch as KDKA’s Chris Hoffman reports:
“Only 11 or 12 of our buildings out of 55 are air-conditioned,” she said. “And I get it, no one loves wearing a mask. But I’ll tell you what, the Delta variant is scary and I want everybody to be safe.”
Next on the union’s radar is $100 million in federal coronavirus relief funds. Esposito-Visgitis suggested that money be spent on purchasing those missing air conditioners, addressing learning loss and increasing social services.
She hopes other community members offer their suggestions on the spending, which must be used by 2024.
Now that the public comments have been submitted and reviewed, PPS will vote on its plan on Wednesday.