Despite protests, Mt. Lebanon SD votes to start the year with online-only instruction

MT. LEBANON, Pa. — It’s online learning only for students in the Mt. Lebanon School District, at least to start.

More than 1,400 residents joined the school board meeting Thursday night as the district talked about its proposed back-to-school plan.

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During a virtual board meeting Thursday night, the board voted unanimously for fully remote instruction for the first 9 weeks.

The decision was made following a recommendation from the superintendent.

"It is the safest, most prudent, and effective manner to move forward with education in the midst of a public health crisis," said superintendent Dr. Tim Steinhauer in a statement.

Many families agree.

“There are too many unknowns with COVID-19 at this point in time and I think given the circumstances and the risks with a lot of back and forth and potential school shut downs if the kids do go back to school. I think this is the best decision that could have been made,” said parent Nicole Miller.

But hundreds of other families disagree and protested ahead of the meeting stating that some kids will be at risk, especially those relying on schools for meals.

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“We had 200 to 250 people out there, lot of families with younger kids. My mom who’s 80 years old and a tax payer ... she was there,” said Susan Uffelman, a parent who helped organize the protest Wednesday night. “We thought, if anything, we would be going to a hybrid option. We had no idea he was going to recommend remote only.”

One parent added that taxes are high and this doesn’t get them their money’s worth.

“Many of us just feel like this is not the education that we are paying for in Mt. Lebanon. We pay high taxes here. We have an excellent school district. We feel like we are being short changed,” Uffelman said.

They had hoped for, at least, a hybrid option or partial in-school learning.