Trump Threat 'Unprecedented' Says Pgh City Schools Superintendent

District Plans for Mix of In-Person, Online Education

Joe DeStio
July 09, 2020 - 4:25 pm

Related: Teacher Union Leader Says Trump's School Plan Is 'Irresponsible And Disrespectful''

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - The Superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools says he hopes it doesn't occur. But if it does it would be "unprecedented." Dr. Anthony Hamlet was asked about President Trump's threat with withhold federal funds from schools that fail to open to students in the fall.

"Hopefully we're not trying to barter or broker our safety of our students, our faculty, our staff, and our community to reopen the economy," said Hamlet

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He and other district officials spoke in an online news conference to update plans for city school students next month.  Hamlet stressed that they are not ready to reveal those plans. Officials presented two main options. One involves a mix of in-person and online learning. The other is learning online at home.

Officials say they are in the process of gauging reaction from parents and students. A series of committees have been developing contingencies. The committees comprise staff, teachers, students, and more than 50 partner organizations. A draft version of the plan will be presented July 14. The plan will be publically revealed July 22 and presented to the school board for a vote August 4.

"We're going to do what's safest for our faculty and staff, our students and our families," said Hamlet.

District officials say they are following Centers for Disease Control guidelines which were revised and made more stringent just a few days ago. School buildings are now being mapped to plan to social distancing. Additional protective equipment and cleaning materials are being purchased. Three sided desk shields are also ordered for when students and a teacher must meet face to face. Plans call for students who take a bus to school to ride one student to a seat.

District I.T officials say a final batch of Chromebooks have been ordered so that every student will have his or her devise for remote learning. That comes to 32,000 devises for students and teachers.

As to those federal funds, Hamlet says between 7 and 11 percent of the budget comes from federal dollars for things like special education, Title One, Title Nine and other entitlement programs.

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