Some School District Superintendents Looking For More Safety Guidance From Allegheny Co. Health Dept.

MCKEESPORT, Pa. (KDKA) — Will students go back to school in a few weeks or not? It’s the big question that school administrations across the state and country are trying to figure out while the coronavirus pandemic rages on.


“I have a doctorate, but it’s in education. It’s not a medical degree. I’m having to make medical decisions I’m just not comfortable with,” said Dr. Mark Holtzman.


Holtzman is the superintendent of McKeesport Area School District. He said he’s just one of many school leaders in Allegheny County looking to the Health Department for specific guidelines.


“It’s been very challenging. It would be very helpful if there were more standards or expectations that are clearer,” Holtzman said.


Holtzman told KDKA that schools in Bucks and Chester counties received step-by-step instructions that each district can follow.


“That was created by a request from his superintendents in Bucks County,” Holtzman said.


He said that a similar request was made to Allegheny County, but no further guidance has been provided.


Rather in this month’s Board of Health meeting on Zoom, Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen said she was advising schools to be flexible.


“Rather than dictate policies, we’ve been at the table with them to provide scientific data,” Bogen said.


As schools like Moon Area make the move to go all virtual starting out, McKeesport is looking to do morning and afternoon sessions, but Holtzman’s question to the county, which if any of the options are safe and recommended?


“If you have children would you send them to school under the circumstances? Do you feel comfortable that they would be safe in all these efforts all these districts are making, are these reasonable expectations?” Holtzman said.