Originally, in-person classes were set to start on October 5, 2020.

By Ashlee Green

Photo: August de Richelieu via Pexels

The Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) school year got off to a shaky start, but now, most technological snafus have been worked out.

On the district’s first school day, Tuesday, September 8, bandwidth for students, who are learning remotely for the first nine weeks, maxed out, which caused both outages and unreliable internet connection for about two hours. The following day, an inappropriate video was embedded inside of an educational video link shared via Safe YouTube, which is touted as a “teacher and family friendly YouTube.” PPS Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet responded to the Safe YouTube incident in a press release:

“Even as educators, we are still learning ourselves and vow to continually make sure cyber security is a priority,” he stated. “Parent [sic] and staff are encouraged to take action as well. If you see something, say something. We are here to make E-Learning accessible and digitally responsible for all families.”

PPS has distributed over 1700 e-learning devices to families in need; They hope that all students will have a device by the time the first quarter wraps up. If your child does not have a device, you are asked to contact their homeroom teacher.

“Virtual calming rooms” have also been created as, according to the PPS website, “a place for students, families and staff to find tools and strategies for managing emotions and feelings and building our resilience during this pandemic.” Visit the virtual calming rooms at www.pghschools.org/virtualcalmingroom.

On September 23, the PPS board approved the “Reimagine School Safety in Pittsburgh Public Schools” resolution, aimed at helping to end the “school-to-prison pipeline.” This comes in response to a report released by the Black Girls Equity Alliance which shows that African American students in Allegheny County are “referred to the juvenile justice system at a much higher rate than white children,” according to a PPS press release. PPS, the release states, is the “largest source of referrals for Black girls in the county.”

Hamlet announced on September 25 that in-person teaching and learning has been pushed back from Monday, October 5 to Monday, November 9.

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