New measures will be in place as students return to Pittsburgh Public Schools

PITTSBURGH — All Pittsburgh Public Schools students are expected to be back in the classroom by May 3, the district announced.

During a meeting Tuesday night, district officials broke down students into four groups to be phased into hybrid learning, which involves two days of learning in the classroom and three online:

  • Support Category 1: Student demonstrating positive progress in eLearning.
  • Support Category 2: Student demonstrating progress in eLearning.
  • Support Category 3: Student demonstrating some progress in eLearning.
  • Support Category 4: Student is not demonstrating progress and/or is in kindergarten or pre-K.

The first group of students, Category 4, is set to go back to in-person learning starting April 6. Students in Support Category 3 will go back April 26. Categories 1 and 2 will go back May 3.

Here’s how time will be split: Teachers will directly interact with students in the classroom. During that time, students learning at home will work independently. Teachers will then switch and work directly with students at home.

“We don’t know where this virus is taking us, but we’re ready, we’re ready for it,” Superintendent Anthony Hamlet said.

Students will notice quite a few changes during the transition process. They include desks being kept 6 feet apart, hand sanitizer stations and signs reminding about social distancing and masking up. Younger students will have table shields added to their desks.

“It is going to be very difficult to social distance. For the first week or so, teachers will work with students on what social distancing looks like, how they wash their hands, how they stand,” Chief Academic Officer Minika Jenkins said.

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The district also purchased more than 200 air purifiers and filters.

Plus, a plan is in place if a student is sick at school.

“If we believe the student may have COVID, they will be put into what we now have in each building, which is an isolation area to keep them separate while we try to get someone to pick them up,” Director of Health Services Roe-Ann Green said.

District officials want families to make sure all the information on students’ emergency care forms is accurate and up-to-date in case they get sick and need to be sent home.

The district will not be doing COVID-19 testing at schools. Officials said they don’t have the capacity.