Parents hold rally to get Pine-Richland students back into classrooms

GIBSONIA, Pa. — Parents and students in the Pine-Richland School District held a rally Monday for the return of in-person learning.

The group wants the school board to vote Monday night to bring students back into the classrooms.

Parents say virtual learning is ineffective, and a recent student survey proves their point.

The survey was sent out by a few parents to about 100 seniors. The results were sent to the school board.

According to the survey, more than 50% of students who responded said remote learning is not effective, and almost all of them feel disconnected from their peers. In addition, 78% said they had mental health concerns in the past year, attributing it to isolation from virtual learning and the loss of extracurricular activities.

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The last time Pine-Richland students in grades 4 through 12 were in school full time was March 13, 2020.

The survey was also forwarded to the school board, but parents told Channel 11 the district has yet to respond.

“We are tired of surveys, we are tired of kicking the can down the road,” said Lisa Lane, a district parent. “Make a decision today and put them back in school next week.”

One parent told Channel 11 her children have struggled mightily with virtual learning, not allowing social interaction and even sending grades down.

On Monday, Pine-Richland’s administration unveiled their timeline for a phased return of students for a five-day-per-week option.

The district said if cases in the county and schools continue to decline, the timeline could be as follows:

  • March 18 - Students grades 4-6 and high school seniors in-person full-time
  • April 8 - Add grades 7-11

But some parents said they aren’t buying it. They think the district is using this timeline as a “stall tactic” and won’t follow through.

In the meantime, parents with students in grades 4-12 are now being asked to complete a survey -- asking what learning model is best for their child: 100% virtual learning, alternating days, or five days in-person per week.