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Parents Upset Over Pittsburgh Public Schools Delaying In-Person Learning Again

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Pittsburgh Public Schools is delaying in-person learning again.

That was the decision made by the Pittsburgh Public Schools board Wednesday night, voting 7-2 to postpone when students can go back to the classroom.

"What's the point of going back for the last quarter?" said parent Jamie King.

Jamie King wants his son, a sophomore at Brashear High School, to go back to class now.

"It will be a year since my son has stepped foot into an actual school and I feel like he's losing his high school education," said King.

Students in the district have been virtual since the pandemic began in March. PPS was initially planning on bringing kids back in February, but the board made the decision to postpone for several reasons.

The big issue is the vaccine, which many teachers have stressed they want before they set foot back inside a school building. On top of that, Allegheny County still has a high number of COVID cases. Other concerns are also the lack of substitute teachers to cover for teachers who may have to quarantine. Lastly, ending the cohort model and creating a need-based one.

"In this resolution, when we are safely able to phase students back into the buildings, we will do it based on need. And there will be criteria that's applied," said PPS School Board Member Pam Harbin.

Parent Chrissy Lockard, "It's hard to plan when criteria they're using to make this call keeps changing."

Lockard wants to make sure her fourth grader at Greenfield Elementary is getting all the help she needs, but says it is tough when she and her husband are also working.

"I know she's done much better in in-person learning. We are ready to get back to that," said Lockard.

King says he's thinking about sending his son to another school.

"I think PA Cyber might be an option or I can send him to Seton LaSalle," said King.

However, school leaders want parents and students to remain encouraged. They said they're working with the Allegheny County Health Department and UPMC to get staff the shot as fast as they can.

UPMC released this statement:

"UPMC is preparing to help our public health partners with the next phase COVID-19 vaccination administration. We expect the next group will include Pittsburgh Public Schools employees and others, based on the Commonwealth's guidance. We will expand and accelerate COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as we receive vaccine supplies for this effort. The exact timeline for starting this phase of vaccine is still being determined."

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