Pittsburgh Public Schools News Release
For Immediate Release Contact: Ebony Pugh 412- 475-1523
Board Delays In-Person Learning Until April 6
District to Create New Learning Cohorts Based on Need
PITTSBURGH January 27, 2021 – Similar to 49 percent of school districts across the country, including Philadelphia, Cleveland and Atlanta, Pittsburgh Public Schools has been delivering remote instruction since last March. This evening, a resolution, approved by the Board, extends remote instruction until April 6 and ends the District’s current AA/BB/C/D cohort learning, directing the Superintendent to establish new learning cohorts based on need. The action further calls for the administration of a new survey of parents and guardians to measure comfort with the return to in-person instruction no later than February 15.
Board Member Pam Harbin introduced changes to the Board’s resolution this evening, “We realize there are students who have significant needs that are not being addressed in a remote learning environment.” Ms. Harbin continued, “When we are able to safely bring students back for in-person instruction, it is critical that we prioritize the return of students based on need.”
Following a full quarter, access to data, including first-quarter grades, attendance, and student performance in Math and English Language Arts, the District has more information about students most in need of in-person supports.
“We have worked in collaboration with school leaders to support the safe return to in-person instruction for students,” said Superintendent Anthony Hamlet. “Even so, based on this evening’s resolution, we will pivot and adjust our student cohorts based on an evaluation of student data in a way that equitably identifies students who are struggling the most in E-Learning.”
Following a resolution unanimously approved by the executive board for the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers urging the Superintendent and Board of Directors to delay the start of in-person learning until personnel can receive the vaccine, Board Members echo the important layer of safety provided with the upcoming 1B rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We need to fight to get teachers in the front of the line so that their vaccination series can be implemented,” said Board Member Sala Udin. “It is time that we put pressure on our state and federal officials on the need to prioritize vaccines for our teachers to support the safe return of students.”
While the timing for vaccinations remains unknown, the Allegheny County Health Department, UPMC, and UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh are working in partnership with the District to develop a plan to serve all interested staff and school district bus drivers. More than 70.3 percent (2,693 out 3,826) of employee respondents have said they will get the vaccine when available, 17.6 percent reported they are undecided, 8.5 percent have declined, and a small number, 3.2 percent, have received the vaccine as part of IA distribution.