Group questions Pittsburgh Public Schools plan for virtual learning until Spring

Most students of Pittsburgh Public Schools have not been in the classroom for the past 10 months.

The district is considering a plan to continue virtual learning until Spring, however, some groups are pushing to have pupils back in school Feb. 8 as originally planned.

Citing a variety of challenges in learning at home, the Pittsburgh Learning Collaborative claims some students can’t wait until April to return to the classroom.

In one example, a student is using a school-issued laptop that requires her to hold the charger in place for the computer to function.

“Those with special needs, or at risk, need some additional accommodations, access to internet, food and basically a loving, caring environment,” said Carlos Carter of the Homeless Children’s Education Fund.

School board members say they have good reasons for delaying a return to in-person learning, including the number of coronavirus infections in Allegheny County.

“The district has said 10% spread is where we can safely open. Is that criteria still valid? Is that something they need to reflect on and change,” asked James Fogarty with A+ Schools.

District officials also want to wait until April because they believe that, by then, teachers, staff and bus drivers will have been vaccinated.

Members of the Pittsburgh Learning Collaborative will present their concerns to the district during a Jan. 25 public hearing.

A board vote on the resolution is expected Jan. 27.