PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Public School board members voted unanimously to approve a plan to have the first nine weeks of the 2020-2021 school year be entirely remote learning.
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“Families need to be able to make decisions. Families need to be able to make arrangements. It’s a heavy burden and a lot to bear, especially for someone like myself who has the biggest heart when it comes to wanting to do what’s right for the families and the students in the district,” said board member Devon Taliaferro.
Students, staff and parents have voiced major concerns and countless recommendations.
Kevin Carter, the first vice president of the school board, proposed the plan after the steady rise in coronavirus cases around the county.
Carter told Channel 11 he came up with the resolution after getting so much feedback from the community about how they want the school year to look.
He said he also spoke to the district’s superintendent and other administrators about it.
“Given the rise in COVID cases, given the uncertainty about what that’s going to look like two months from now ... it would be best for us to postpone the start of school now so that we can fully examine what the data will look two weeks from now, two months from now,” Carter said.
Board members said they will now work to make sure each student has a device that works and the online system is easier for students and parents to access.
As part of a distribution program, PPS is having students exchange devices to those who need it for the next semester. Computers will only be given out on certain days to certain grade levels.
The locations for pickup are Pittsburgh Classical, Oliver, Westinghouse and Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy. Officials are working on adding a fifth location in the south portion of the city.
When picking up a computer, bring your ID nad the child’s current school-issued computer if you have one. You will also need the student’s ID number and parents will have to sign an acceptable use form.
The district told Channel 11 they have 1,000 internet accounts for families who need it. The housing authority will also be providing web access to families who live in their properties and have children who attend PPS.
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