20 Pittsburgh Public Schools buildings now impacted by COVID-19 staffing shortages

PITTSBURGH — Staffing shortages related to COVID-19 are slamming the Pittsburgh Public School district just as students were supposed to return to class for the new year.

On Sunday, the district said a dozen schools would be closed Monday because there weren’t going to be enough staff.

District leaders issued an alert Tuesday that 17 buildings would be impacted.

Officials said that list is now up to 20 facilities.

Six school buildings will be closed on Wednesday:

  • Pittsburgh Carrick High School
  • Pittsburgh Greenfield PreK-8
  • Pittsburgh Milliones 6-12
  • Pittsburgh Obama 6-12
  • Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy 6-12
  • Pittsburgh Westinghouse 6-12

Five additional buildings will now be closed for the rest of the week:

  • Pittsburgh Arsenal 6-8
  • Pittsburgh Liberty PreK-5
  • Manchester PreK-8
  • Pittsburgh South Hills 6-8
  • Pittsburgh Whittier PreK-5

Nine school buildings were already closed for the week:

  • Pittsburgh Allegheny PreK-5
  • Pittsburgh Classical Academy 6-8
  • Pittsburgh Langley PreK-8
  • Pittsburgh Lincoln PreK-5
  • Pittsburgh Montessori PreK-5
  • Pittsburgh Perry High School
  • Pittsburgh Phillips PreK-5
  • Pittsburgh Morrow PreK-5
  • Pittsburgh Weil PreK-5

District leaders said students were transitioning to remote learning.

The President of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers said Tuesday she’s concerned with the rapid spike in cases and while all educators want to teach in person, they question how safely it can be done.

“I’m terrified by the numbers and I know people are really worried,” Nina Esposito-Visgitis told Channel 11.

Esposito-Visgitis stressed the importance of everyone working together to create a safe school environment.

“If we want to keep our schools open, everybody has to be in sync and make sure we follow ever safety protocol – masking, social distancing, staying home when you’re sick,” she added.

Grab and Go Meals will be available to students from 9 a.m. to noon in each school cafeteria.

Significant staffing shortages are also affecting the Port Authority. A total of 84 employees tested positive in January – the highest number since the start of the pandemic and now nearly 30 have tested positive in the last three days.

The Port Authority said it may have to cancel 100-200 routes a day due to shortages.

“Our operators, our maintenance folks, all of our employees – we can’t afford to lose a single one,” spokesperson, Adam Brandolph told Channel 11.

The Port Authority is encouraging customers to call customer service or check routes on social media before leaving the house, along with adding in some extra commute time.

Also affected are the Pittsburgh Public School bus routes currently being covered by PPS.

“Even for the kids going to school – I know some are remote right now, but when they go back, we want them to give themselves enough time to get to school,” Brandolph added.