Keystone Oaks teachers focused on safety as they head back full-time to classroom with students

PITTSBURGH — For the first time in a year and a half, teachers will be teaching to their students in person, all week long.

The president of the Keystone Oaks Education Association says the overwhelming feeling from her colleagues is they can’t wait to have a full classroom of kids.

Lainey Resetar is also the coach of the cross country team and she says they’re ready to hit the ground running back in the classroom 5 days a week too. She says some of them haven’t stepped foot in a classroom since March 13, 2020.

“It’s so nice to see them again instead of through a computer screen,” said Resetar.

Because in the last school year, she says she taught to a blank screen for a lot of class periods, “which was really rough.”

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Resetar teaches high school English at Keystone Oaks and she’s looking forward to having a classroom with 25 students at a time.

We were there as she and her superintendent were getting her room ready, making sure the desks are the CDC-recommended 3 feet apart. If they can’t be 3 feet apart, they can put up partitions.

“No concerns. I’m really excited that we have stuck with the recommendations for the masks to protect the students,” said Resetar.

All students, staff, and teachers at Keystone Oaks have to wear a mask when community transmission is in the high or substantial category. Superintendent William Stropkaj knows it’s a touchy subject.

“There’s a lot of angst with that. What are we experiencing, what are we going to see. But I think the positive is, we’re all going to be back 5 days a week,” said Stropkaj.

Last year, classes at Keystone Oaks were held in-person for at most, four days a week. He says there was no traceable spread of COVID-19 within the district.

“We were keeping that 6 feet, we were keeping the masks on, we were staying apart, we were doing the extra cleaning,” explained Stropkaj.

He says that extra cleaning will continue before school and after school this year.

As for teachers and vaccines, he says 93% of teachers in Keystone Oaks are vaccinated.

“That’s a positive,” Stropkaj said. “That sends a message that the staff wants also to protect the kids that are coming in here.”

“As long as we can keep everybody safe and healthy then I think we’ll have a really great school year this year and we’re really looking forward to being back,” said Resetar.

Stropkaj says all teachers are returning this year, and he says that’s because of the good relationship between the district and the teacher’s union.