Pittsburgh Public Schools Board Votes For Online-Only Classes During First 9 Weeks

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Public Schools board has voted on how its students will return to class.

Citing both student and teacher safety, the board voted unanimously to delay in-person classes for nine weeks and do remote learning only.


The options included a hybrid of home and in-school learning. Another option gaining support was to keep students out of the classroom for the first nine weeks.


“I cannot in my heart ask people to return to the buildings,” board member Terry Kennedy said at Friday’s meeting. Kennedy said she would vote for the delay.


“My duty is to ensure the health and safety of our school children and nine week delay is the best way to do that,” said board member Kevin Carter.


On Wednesday when the district presented its health and safety plan for the fall, Carter proposed that the first nine weeks of the school year move online to help mitigate risk and give the district more time to prepare.


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The district said more than 4,000 students have already enrolled in full-time e-learning for the fall. Families have until Aug. 30 to enroll.


In deciding to whether to open the classrooms or going remote only for the first nine weeks, the board weighed the hopes of some parents against fears the coronavirus will infect teachers and students alike. The board came down on the side of student safety.


Board members expressed great frustration and reluctance to vote, citing working parents like Erika Bruce who will need to make arrangements to take care of their children at home during the day.


“I have to go back to work. My husband works full time. So definitely an issue for us. So we have to find a solution,” Bruce told KDKA’s Andy Sheehan.


Board member Kennedy said she agrees in-person instruction is superior, but she rarely leaves home herself.


“How can I require some school member to leave their house to go into a school building when I’m not willing to do it?” she said.


Though KDKA’s Andy Sheehan spoke with some parents in favor the online start out of safety concerns, most said they’d rather their kids be back in school than at home.


Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.