Schools finding creative ways to social distance students

Schools finding creative ways to social distance students

PITTSBURGH — School districts in western Pennsylvania are getting creative in order to socially distance students who have returned to the classroom.

Channel 11′s Melanie Gillepsie visited Greater Latrobe School District.

“The thing is you need to keep the kids as number one, and that’s your number one focus so it is all consuming but we do what’s best for kids and you have to pivot on a dime and you just do what’s best for kids,” said superintendent Dr. Georgia Teppert.

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With help from the community, the school set up a tent from Westmoreland County Parks and there are donated picnic tables in the courtyard to accommodate students. District officials are trying to make the lunch atmosphere feel as normal as possible.

Idlewild Park has lent us picnic tables and we have outdoor picnic tables,” Teppert said. “We also have taken our library in the high school and turned it into the area and have a movie going during lunchtime.”

At the brand-new elementary school, students aren’t using the cafeteria. They are staying in their classrooms and eating lunch at their desks to avoid crowds and possible exposure. “Lunches are actually brought to the classroom so that’s what looks different and they’re utilizing the cafeteria to box lunches,” Teppert said. With about 3,700 kids in its district and only 10% sticking to remote learning, the superintendent said the kids have really adapted to this new unconventional environment. “We also wanted to have it the best we could for our students so there are still students in the cafeteria seated by choice if they choose,” Teppert said. Greater Latrobe School District is currently operating under a hybrid model but district officials plan to reassess at the end of September to see if students can return to full time in-person instruction by October.

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